Rein­vent­ing Adult Jew­ish Education

Bet­sy Dol­gin Katz
  • Review
By – September 12, 2012

Inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty have been two keys to the growth and devel­op­ment of the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty since its incep­tion more than four hun­dred years ago. Each gen­er­a­tion has left its mark on the com­mu­ni­ty through its unique approach­es to the issues and con­cerns of the times. As we look back on the last gen­er­a­tion, one such pro­gram that cap­ti­vat­ed the North Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty was the Flo­rence Melton Adult Mini School.

Through her own per­son­al sto­ry as an edu­ca­tor and the long-time direc­tor of this school, Bet­sy Dol­gin Katz pro­vides an his­tor­i­cal overview of this out­stand­ing adult learn­ing pro­gram. Much can be learned about how an inno­v­a­tive idea is able to grow into a sig­nif­i­cant ini­tia­tive that touch­es a wide cross sec­tion of the adult pop­u­la­tion and leads to the estab­lish­ment of sim­i­lar pro­grams that serve oth­er com­po­nents of the community.

Katz pro­vides the read­er with insights into the ori­gins and devel­op­ment of the pro­gram, the suc­cess that it achieved in attract­ing dif­fer­ent parts of the com­mu­ni­ty, and the chal­lenges faced by the school’s devel­op­ers dur­ing the twen­ty-five years from its first class­es in the mid-1980s until the present. Read­ers look­ing to learn about the evo­lu­tion of the Mini School and its impact on the com­mu­ni­ty will find this vol­ume valuable.

Paul A. Flexn­er, Ed.D., is an Instruc­tor in Edu­ca­tion­al Psy­chol­o­gy at Geor­gia State Uni­ver­si­ty, a vet­er­an of 35 years as a Jew­ish edu­ca­tor and a mem­ber of the Board of Direc­tors of the Jew­ish Book Council.

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