JSP Welcomes the Ethical Creativity Institute to Studio AM

Last week 21 educators from Jewish schools around the country—from Atlanta, to Portland, to Los Angeles—are participating in the second annual Ethical Creativity Institute (ECI) hosted by The Brandeis School of San Francisco. The ECI is a professional development program aimed at connecting design thinking, innovation, and Jewish ethics, while encouraging cross-pollination among a range of Jewish educators. 

Many guests joined to lead conversations throughout the week including Rabbi Carla Fenves from San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El; Ellen Deutscher, design thinking expert; Rabbi Adina Allen from the Jewish Studio Project in Berkeley;  Ryan Jenkins and Nicole Catrett of the Wonderful Idea Co.; Leslie Roffman, former head of the Little School; and Ariel Raz of Stanford’s d.school. In addition to visiting guests, the group traveled to both the Jewish Studio Project and the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM).

The workshops explored design thinking, designing for multiple audiences, Jewish peoplehood, how Jewish identity impacts teaching and connections with students, what the Torah has to say about creativity, and the ethics of empathy. Says Dr. Glass, “It’s pretty amazing to see people engaging with cutting-edge pedagogy and cutting-edge questions about the nature of Jewish identity simultaneously. It’s such a dynamic educational environment.”

Read more about the pioneering work of ECI and see fun photos here!

The Blossoming of the Beloved Community

by Rabbi Adina Allen

In Exodus, God promises to dwell bitocham (within / among us) when we create the right conditions. Korach, using the same word, opens the possibility for us to wrestle with what it actually means for all of us to be holy, and how this understanding affects the type of community we create. His actions might be understood as an attempt to provoke the community and its leadership to engage in the necessary struggle for those conditions to become manifest— where challenge can be held as sacred and the sacred can withstand being challenged.... Read the full Huffington Post article here

June Newsletter - Summer in the Studio

Friends,

Happy Summer! With days long and sun shining bright, Studio AM is blossoming: the walls of the studio are vibrating with the soulful harmonies of early morning singing; the words of Torah are intermingling with words of probing questions; wild new creations are coming into being. From the studio space to the community to the staff team - Studio AM is growing.

In this week's Torah portion, Korach challenges existing authority structures by asserting that the entire community is holy, all of them, and that the Divine dwellsbitocham - within them. The use of the word bitocham echoes God's promise in Exodus that if we create the mishkan - or sacred space - the Divine presence will dwellbitocham - within us.  

Playing on this word bitocham, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk teaches that we are meant not only to create external sacred spaces, but we are to build the sanctuary in our own heart so that God can dwell within us. This metaphorical mishkan is meant to mirror the physical mishkan we build together in the public square.

During this time of Summer spaciousness and warmth, may the internal sacred center in each of us connect us not only to God, but to the gifts, artistry, and spiritual longings of those with whom we share community.

(Read more about Parshat Korach in Rabbi Adina's latest piece in the Huffington Post.)

Here's what's in this month's newsletter... 

Read more here!

May Newsletter - Ready for Revelation!

Friends,

The Studio is abuzz this month as we journey from Passover to Shavuot. It is a potent time full of possibility.

New Torah and wisdom comes through us and into the world on Shavuot. Tradition teaches that each and every one of us stood at Sinai and heard the Divine word. Of revelation at Mount Sinai, a midrash (rabbinic interpretation) teaches: Said R. Levi, the Holy One appeared to them like a picture which is visible from all angles. A thousand people may gaze on it, and it gazes upon all of them. Said R. Yose: according to each and everyone's personal capacities did the word speak to him.

Each and every one of us has the power to receive Torah. And Torah speaks to each of us in a unique way. Revelation is only fully realized when all of us are a part of this sacred process of receiving.

This Shavuot may we open up the channels within so that new wisdom and insight can come to us and through us - for our own benefit and for the benefit of all. May we make visible all the angles of the picture and, in so doing, make the Divine image more fully manifest in the world.

Chag Sameach and hope to see you in the Studio soon!

Here's what's in this month's newsletter... 

Read more here!

Our Passover Zine!

WHOMEVER ELABORATES ON THE TELLING OF THE PASSOVER STORY IS PRAISEWORTHY
-- The Haggadah

On Passover, As we tell the story of the Israelite’s journey from oppression to liberation, we are encouraged to seek out its relevance to the present day.

  • What significance does this holiday have today? What do the rituals mean to me?

  • In wat ways do I see myself in the story of my ancestors?

    Thirty questioners came out on a rainy Thursday evening in Berkeley for Dare to Prepare Passover to explore these questions. This collection of images and words illustrates their creative exploration. 

Check it out! Our Passover Zine!

Songs of praise, art of resistance at newly open Studio Am

J. The Jewish News of Northern California

BY DAVID A.M. WILENSKY

Early last Tuesday morning, a dozen people gathered to welcome the month of Nisan with song, study and art at Studio Am, the recently opened space of the Jewish Studio Project. JSP’s mission is offering a way into Jewish spirituality and texts through creative endeavors.

Each Rosh Hodesh (the first day of the Jewish month), we sing Hallel, a cycle of several psalms of praise. Typically, this happens during Shacharit (the morning service), but at Studio Am, we sang Hallel on its own. Hallel is also said on festival holidays, such as Sukkot and Passover. Keep Reading...