Building community through a new partnership: Ohef Sholom Temple presents Melton’s Love, Loss, and Wisdom Course

by | Dec 22, 2023 | What’s Happening

Thursdays, starting February 1  •  7 pm, online  •

Staff report
Ohef Sholom Temple has a robust adult education program led by Alyson Morrissey, director of Lifelong Learning. The programming includes speakers, artists, films, Torah study, Hebrew, field trips, and more. Hundreds of members are engaged in its diverse learning experiences.

“OST also enjoys participating in community-wide education opportunities, so when the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater offered the opportunity to partner with them to offer a Melton course, we were excited,” says Morrissey. “We are looking forward to engaging more members in the Melton program and are particularly excited to offer the course, Love, Loss and Wisdom.”

Melton’s six-week Love, Loss, and Wisdom course allows learners of all levels of Jewish knowledge to discover the Jewish responses and rituals of mourning that culminate with arriving at a place of healing. When death inevitably appears, Jewish wisdom and ritual can help cope with heartbreak and loss, the anguish of why suffering exists. The class will also seek to understand the big questions of what Judaism says about life after death and its understanding of messianic times. With a broader lens, participants will gain a context with which to better understand those moments of anguish as individuals and as a community.

The course will be taught by Barb Gelb, Ohef Sholom’s vice president and adult education chair. “I am so excited to teach this course. I trained as a Melton instructor, and the teaching approach is phenomenal. Learners are engaged in conversation with each other as well as the texts. I will learn so much by teaching it.”

Melton courses use a pluralistic approach that builds community and introduces people to original sources as well as new ideas.

Gelb is a lifelong learner who continually seeks opportunities for learning and growth. “I’m always taking classes and trying to grow – and I like to study diverse topics. For example, I got certified as a health coach in 2016 to learn more about nutrition. I recently completed a course in emotional agility with Dr. Susan David to learn more about how our emotions can help us thrive. I am currently taking courses in human resources and yoga teaching,” she says.

“My parents and five siblings have been studying Torah together every Sunday evening for about eight years now, so learning is ingrained in who I am,” says Gelb.

The new six-week Melton course will be conducted online.

As a part of this collaboration, UJFT’s Konikoff Center for Learning is subsidizing the course cost for all students. Using the code TW60 during checkout reduces the cost from $179 to $119. Additional scholarships are available upon request.

For more information or to register for this course, visit or contact Sierra Lautman, senior director of Jewish Innovation at UJFT, at or Alyson Morrissey at