Jewish Studio Project Launches The Studio Immersive; How Making Art Can Change Us and Help Us Change the World

BERKELEY, Calif. - Jan. 14, 2018

Jewish Studio Project (JSP), welcomes 14 participants from across the country for its first Studio Immersive: a five-day deep-dive into Jewish inquiry and creative process at JSP’s art studio in West Berkeley.


The Studio Immersive, beginning Sunday, January 14, is JSP’s most intensive offering to date. As Rabbi Adina Allen, JSP Co-Founder and Creative Director, contextualizes: “In these uncertain and divisive times, we need spiritual technologies that help us to expand our capacity for empathy, tap into what is alive and good within us, and move through that which feels stuck and intractable in ourselves and in our world. Making art is a way to do this”.


JSP is innovating a new spiritual approach to Judaism. Founded in 2015, JSP draws on proven practices from the fields of Jewish education, art therapy and leadership development yielding a methodology that empowers individuals and communities to mine the richness of tradition and engage the complexity of life. JSP’s methodology utilizes the creative arts as a tool to explore questions, dig beneath the surface and allow new insights to emerge.


Participants in the Studio Immersive, selected from a group of 30 applicants, range in age from 24 to 70 and include a mix of activists, lay leaders, clergy, nonprofit executives, Jewish professionals, students and seekers; from those who identify as “artists” to those for whom picking up a paintbrush is already out of their comfort zone. Participants applied to the Immersive seeking a new entryway into deep Jewish exploration, an accessible approach to creativity, and the tools to increase their capacity for curiosity and connection.


The belief that we are all creative is foundational to JSP’s groundbreaking work. “We learn from the beginning of the Torah that the Divine is a creative force and that we are made in this image; therefore, we are all created creative”, asserts Allen.


“Maybe your third grade art teacher told you that you weren’t going to be an artist and to stick to math or social studies”, says JSP Co-Founder and Executive Director, Jeff Kasowitz. “Many of us carry that baggage into adulthood. We grow even more inhibited and don’t realize that when we can tap into our creativity, we can work through the stuckness in our lives and imagine a better world.”


A national organization with a California base, JSP’s local offerings are held  at Studio AM - a dynamic and integrated space, at once an art studio, house of Jewish learning, community hub and R&D lab. With brightly colored paintings created by participants covering one wall and a library of Jewish books containing everything from Talmud to feminist poetry on the other, the Studio has become a local hub for intergenerational, inclusive Jewish community where those from diverse backgrounds and experiences learn and create together.


In addition to the JSP team, several extraordinary facilitators are on the Immersive faculty, including: Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld (President of Boston-based Hebrew College); Dr. Pat Allen (prominent art therapist and author); and Day Schildkret (Founder of Morning Altars).

Jeff Kasowitz