Havruta in Art and Beyond - Collaboration and Creativity in the Classroom

This past week, Vavi Toran, our Arts and Culture Specialist hosted an Integration of the Arts in Jewish Education program in collaboration with CJM and an exhibiting artist at the museum.

When she introduced herself, the program and Jewish LearningWorks, she mentioned that last year we started the Integration of the Arts Initiative the room broke into spontaneous applause!

This day of learning had three parts that interconnected and intersected seamlessly, thanks to an excellent collaboration in envisioning and implementing between the CJM educational staff, the artist and myself.

The first part, led by CJM educators Fraidy Aber and Janine Okmim, drew upon an exhibit that sparked the idea for this workshop. Educators engaged in Havruta text study from books' passages used by the collaborating artists and visual text study of the resulting exhibition. 

The second part, led by artist Ascha Drake, introduced participants to her installation "In The Studio" (an inspiration for a "Maker's lab") and several of her integration projects with other disciplines in a school environment. She is also an art teacher at Bay School, and author of several books.

The third part led by me brought us back to Havruta text study. Taking into account that the next Jewish holiday on the calendar is Purim, I chose 2 verses from the book of Esther. Participants engaged in text study, identified a "big idea" for Purim and translated it into a collaborative art work. It was, in a way, a small example of how to approach anew any Jewish theme that we revisit year after year, and how to interpret big ideas in a creative way. 

Participants were very engaged, sharing insights and ideas, collaborating with either their colleagues or someone we matched them up with. Many beautiful and thoughtful art works were produced based on the learning of the day.

This is one example of the way we work behind the scenes to support our community of educators.

For more information on our Integration of the Arts Initiative, please email VToran@JewishLearningWorks.org