Melissa Hume, a teacher at the Stephen Wise Free
Synagogue Early Childhood Center, is the recipient of a 2016 Grinspoon
Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. The award honors innovative
educators of preschoolers through adults, recognizing their vital role
promoting Jewish values and inspiring students to grow in their Judaism.
“Melissa is a remarkable educator who is always looking to understand the meaning behind children’s behavior,” says Lori Schneider, director of the Early Childhood Center.
Currently finishing a master’s degree in psychology from Hunter College, Melissa joined Stephen Wise in 2009. Last spring, she completed the synagogue’s conversion program, Pathways to Judaism, and drew on the experience to explore Jewish identity with her students.
“Children, teachers, and families celebrated with Melissa at her conversion ceremony in our sanctuary,” recalls Schneider, “sharing the joy that was so evident for her.”