The Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago (BJE) educates and inspires learners of all ages to enrich their lives, their families and the Jewish community from generation to generation.


The BJE Melton School of Greater Chicago wins the prestigious Florence Melton Award 2017 for Outstanding Achievement and Exemplary Practice.

Thank you to our Melton Consortium Members!

Am Shalom, Anshe Emet Synagogue, Congregation Beth Judea, Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation B'nai Tikvah, Congregation Etz Chaim, Moriah Congregation, North Shore Congregation Israel, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Oak Park Temple, Solomon Schechter Day School

(Largest Melton School Internationally 15-16)



Mazal Tov to our 2016 Melton Graduates!

Moriah Congregation

Anshe Emet Synagogue

Congregation Beth Shalom / Solomon Schechter Day 

Melton 2016 - 2017 Registration Coming Soon

Make it a Match Today, We Need Your Support!


Take a look at just one of the many classes and opportunities to expand your Jewish mind at BJE Melton!


Melton 2017 - 2018 Brochure Coming Soon

BJE Campus - Summer Learning

We Are What We Remember: 
The Ever-Evolving Transmission of Jewish History

Mondays 7–8:00 p.m.
June 19, 26, July 10, 17   
Rabbi David Rosenberg

Fee: Consortium Member: $100 Non-Consortium Member: $125

This 4-session Melton course explores the impact of collective memory. Participants will encounter in a number of different ways one of the most powerful keys to Jewish survival: the enduring determination to never forget. 

* Remember the attempted Jewish national genocide by Amalek 
* Reflections on the Spanish expulsion 
* Recollections of Poland just before and after the Shoah 

* State of Israel as envisioned by its founders and as experienced today by its citizens

Northwest Suburbs
Congregation Beth Judea
5304 RFD, Long Grove

Northern Suburbs

Am Shalom
840 Vernon Ave., Glencoe 
North Shore Congregation Israel
1185 Sheridan Road, Glencoe

BJE Campus
3320 Dundee Road, Northbrook

Bereshit II – The Story of the First Jewish Family (Spring) 
Wednesdays 7–8:30 p.m.
January 30, 2017
Rabbi David Rosenberg

This course follows the development of the first Jewish family, from “The Birth of Two Nations” and “Stolen Blessings” to “Reunion in Egypt” and “Blessing the Grandchildren.” These stories of sibling rivalry, wrestling with an angel, palace seduction, rape, and reconciliation provide some of the most dramatic and iconic images that reverberate across the millennia.


Beyond Borders: The Arab-Israeli Conflict – Part II (Spring) 
Wednesdays 7:00–8:30 p.m.
March 1, 2017
Carl Schrag

This Scholars course provides students with a strong, text-based historical overview from the late nineteenth century through today. Course material is designed to encourage discussion and debate, and to challenge students to appreciate the basis of the conflicting historical claims made by all sides in the conflict. The complexity of the conflict forces students to grapple with issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity and survival—all reflected through primary sources, including newspaper articles, poetry, songs, government documents, speeches, photographs and memoirs. The 10-lesson course will provide students with new tools for understanding and critiquing texts and events as the conflict continues to unfold.


Jewish Denominations: Addressing the Challenges of Modernity (Spring) 
Tuesdays 7–8:30 p.m.
March 21, 2017
Dr. Jeff Winter

This course examines Jewish identity and religious expression against the backdrop of dramatic political and social change.  Students gain extensive insights into the historical and ideological developments of the major movements and explore the impact of gender, assimilation Israel, and post-denominationalism on the movements and the Jewish people. 


Congregation B’nai Tikvah 
1558 Wilmot Road, Deerfield

Shivim Panim: Shemot II: Revelation and Revolution (Spring)
Wednesdays 7–8:30 p.m.
February 22, 2017
Rabbi Michael Balinsky

This course follows the development of the emerging Jewish nation from their awe-inspiring encounter at Mount Sinai through the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The high points of divine revelation in “Ten Commandments, “Encountering God,” and “Face to Face with God” are sharply contrasted with the low points of the “Golden Calf: Revolt or Reversion.” The text addresses some of the specific laws and regulations that were to become part of Jewish living as well as the meaning, purpose, and relevance to our lives today.


Congregation Beth Shalom 
3433 Walters Ave, Northbrook

Moriah Congregation 
200 Taub Drive, Deerfield

From Sinai to Seinfeld: The History of Jewish Humor (Spring) 
Thursdays 9:30-11:00 a.m. 
January 19, 2017
Lori Kramer

A treasure of irresistible jokes from the Israelite relationship with God to the growing divide between cultural and religious Judaism in the early 21st century. Treating Jewish jokes as text, the course invites students to analyze and interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations, and values of the Jewish people that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews, and that bond us as a people.



North Suburban Synagogue Beth El 
1175 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park

Solomon Schechter Day School 
3210 Dundee Road, Northbrook

Modern Living: Maintaining Balances
Tuesdays 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
January (TBA)
Betsy Forester

This 4-part Melton curriculum offers ways to find balance in our lives by discovering answers in timeless Jewish texts. The course focuses on family, work, community and self.


Western Suburbs

Congregation Etz Chaim 
1710 South Highland Ave., Lombard

Oak Park Temple 
1235 North Harlem Ave., Oak Park

Rachel Wasserman Scholars Curriculum:
Jews in America** (Spring) 

Thursdays 10- 11:30 a.m.
March 2, 2017
Rabbi Max Weiss

This Scholars course provides students with the opportunity to consider the challenges of Jewish acculturation to American life, and the sacrifices as well as the contributions that have been made over the past 200 years. Lessons will explore such topics as the role of education, The Three Generation Hypothesis, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, the changing place of Zionism and the State of Israel, The Civil Rights Movement as a case study of distinctiveness and involvement, and other issues that address American and Jewish culture and identity. This 10-lesson course asks the question, “Is the cup half-empty or half full?” as optimists and pessimists debate the future of Jewish identity in America.




Anshe Emet Synagogue
3751 N. Broadway, Chicago

JUF / Federation - Loop Location Jewish Professional Cohort


BJE Campus
3320 Dundee Road, Northbrook

Jewish News Update – Part II (Spring) 
Wednesdays 9:30–11:00 a.m.
January 11, 2017
Carl Schrag

This weekly discussion-based class will challenge everything you thought you know or believe on a wide range of subjects. We talk about Israel, global Jewish affairs, US politics, campus life, anti-Zionism, and the intersection between all these topics (and more.) Join us!


The Esther You Didn't Know (Spring) 
Fridays 10–11:00 a.m.
February 10, 2017
Dr. Igal German

Who was Esther? What do we know about her personality, life and her place in Israel’s sacred Scripture? This course will explore Esther’s multifacited character and her role in the destiny of the Jewish community in Persia. We will use a variety of sources to help us gain insight into Esther’s portrayal in history and tradition. (4 Sessions)


The Seder: Tradition, Innovation, or a Lot of Both? (Spring) 
Wednesdays 9:30–10:30 a.m.
March 15, 22, 29 & April 5, 2017
Rabbi Eric Zaff

Why does my Seder plate have space for two bitter herbs?  Why do we lift the Seder plate just so we can put it down again?  Afikomen, a piece of matzah, for dessert?  Really?  Yes, the rituals of the Passover seder might seem a bit odd, but that is exactly the point.  The Passover seder began as one of the most innovative Jewish rituals, with elements added and changed on a regular basis.  In these classes, we will explore and discuss classic and modern sources about how the seder got to where it is and the possibilities of where it could go. (4 Sessions)


Mondays 10:00 a.m. –12:15 p.m.
March 20 & 27 / May 8 & 22 / June 5, 2017
Dr. Betsy Dolgin Katz & Fran Alpert

Archeology and the Bible: Past and Present
Fran Alpert
Archaeology and the Bible: Explore the Bible from the archaeological point of view. Looking at the archaeological finds, discussing the period in which they were created and discovered, we will try to understand if these items corroborate or deny the Biblical narratives. Open up to new ideas about ancient texts.

Women in Torah: From Family to Tribe to Nation
Dr. Betsy Dolgin Katz
Through close study of Biblical texts and traditional and modern commentaries, we will explore the vital role women played in the formation of the Jewish people and yet remained in the background for centuries. Join us to learn, to question, and to add our voices to a conversation that began without us. 


Study In the Suburbs (Spring) 
Fridays 10–11:30 a.m.
April 6, May 4, June 8, 2017
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz

Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Vernon Kurtz (3 sessions) Each of the three study sessions is centered around the ethical issues of our lives. Relying on source material from biblical and rabbinic texts, there will be discussion of the principles and interpretation of Jewish law. Thursdays, Noon - 1:30 p.m.  BJE Campus Tuition: ● $12 per session (3 Sessions)


Questions? Please call Rolly at 847-291-7788 x1304 or email

Full tuition refunds, less a $25 processing fee, will be given after first class.
No refunds after completion of the first week of class.
No refunds on course books.


Melton Faculty
Rolly Cohen, Director Melton – BA Education/Fine Arts; MAJPS, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership 

Merle Tovian, Assistant Melton Director – BA Education; Education Certificate, Women's Teacher Institute; Post Bachelor Certificate in Health Science from Layola; Certificate in Leadership Spertus Institute

Renee Kaplan, Melton Administrator – BA Telecommunications, Indiana University 

Rabbi Scott Aaron – PhD, Loyola University of Chicago; JD, University of Toledo, Rabbinic Ordination, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York

Rabbi Ari Averbach – NYU Tisch School of the Arts; Rabbinic Ordination, AJU Ziegler School

Fran AlpertBS in Education, University of Illinois; MS in Classical Archaeology, Oxford University

Rabbi Michael Balinsky – BA Sociology, MS Talmudic Literature, Rabbinic Ordination, Yeshiva University

Yehoshua Ben-Avraham - Degrees in Philosophy, Jewish Thought, & Jewish Education, Hebrew University & Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

Cantor Elizabeth Berke – BA History, Cornell University; MA, Sacred Music & Hazzan Diploma, Jewish Theological Seminary

Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky – BA English at SUNY; MS Education, Xavier; MS Hebrew Letters & Rabbinic Ordination,  Hebrew Union College

Dr. Betsy Dolgin Katz – BA Literature, MA Literature, EDP Curriculum & Instruction

Ali Drumm – MAJPS, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning & Certificate in Leadership, Spertus Institute / Northwestern University 

Igal German- MA at University of Haifa; PhD at University of Toronto in Bible and Jewish history

Rabbi Lisa Greene – BS, Wharton School University of Pennsylvania; Rabbinic Ordination, Hebrew Union College

Rabbi Maralee Gordon – BA, Brandeis; MA/Jewish Studies, U of Chicago, Rabbinical Ordination, Academy for Jewish Religion, NY

Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann – BA, Stanford University; Rabbinic Ordination, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies

Miron Hirsch – BA Religious Studies at University of Illinois; MS Jewish Education at Spertus Institute

Rabbi Allan Kensky – PhD in Midrash & Rabbinical Ordination, JTS

Rabbi Benjamin Kramer  MA Talmud & Rabbinic Studies, Rabbinic Ordination, Jewish Theological Seminary

Lori Kramer - BA in Literature, MA in Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary

Marshall Kupchan – BA Religion/Jewish Studies; MA Contemporary Jewish Studies/Jewish Education, PhD Pedagogy

Judy Mars Kupchan, Melton CEO – BA Jewish Education; MA Jewish Studies/Education, Senior Educator’s Program, Hebrew University

Rabbi Vernon KurtzB.A. from York University; MA and Rabbinic Ordination at JTS; DM at CTS; Seminary; honorary DD from JTS

Marianne Novak – BA, Barnard College;  JD Political Science, University of Washington School of Law, currently completing studies, Yeshivat Maharat, New York.

Rabbi Jeffery Pivo – BA Jewish Studies/UCLA, Rabbinic Ordination, JTS

Rabbi David Rosenberg – BA Russian/East European Studies, MS Bible, Rabbinic Ordination

Rabbi Michael Schwab – BA History and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University; MA Jewish Education ;Rabbinic Ordination, Jewish Theological Seminary

Jane Shapiro – BA Jewish Studies ;MA Jewish History; Doctorate of Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary

Rabbi Michael Siegel - Rabbinical Ordination, Jewish Theological Seminary, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity, JTS

Rabbi Moshe Simkovich - BA, Behavioral Sciences; MA, Social Sciences – University of Chicago, Rabbinic Ordination, Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Kollel

Marc Stopek – MA, Jewish Studies, Spertus Institute
Judy Weiss – BS Education, MS Education, Curriculum/Instruction

Rabbi Max Weiss Rabbinical Ordination, Hebrew Union College

Dr. Joyce Witt – BA,University of Illinois in History Education; M.Ed. at National Louis University in Reading Education; Doctor of Arts, Illinois State University in History

Dr. Jeff Winter – BA Communication Arts/Secondary Education, MAT Jewish Studies, PhD Educational Administration

Rabbi Eric Zaff – BA English Language and Literature; MA Jewish Education, Rabbinic Ordination