Rachel Brodie Joins Jewish Studio Project Team As Organization Launches First Creative Facilitator Training

Berkeley, CA, June 20, 2019 -- By the end of the summer, the first cohort of fellows in Jewish Studio Projects’s (JSP) Creative Facilitator Training will begin to bring JSP’s groundbreaking methodology to their home communities and organizations across the country. The training is led by JSP’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Rabbi Adina Allen, Senior Advisor, Dr. Pat Allen, and JSP’s newest hire, Rachel Brodie who is joining the team as Senior Educator in July. Over the course of five months, twelve fellows, each of whom previously participated in a JSP Studio Immersive, will learn the ins and outs of JSP’s pedagogy, gain hands on experience with the methodology, and develop skills to facilitate the approach back in their home communities. The Creative Facilitator Training (CFT) is a key component of JSP’s efforts to extend the reach of its model as it launches into a new phase of impact expansion.

“This is a major step for the organization as we begin to train others in our method,” says Jeff Kasowitz, Co-Founder and Executive Director of JSP. “Rachel is the perfect person to bring onto our team at this moment, not only because she is such a skillful and beloved Jewish educator, but because she comes to JSP’s work from a place of curiosity, playfulness and a deep belief in the potential of creative process to bring about change—values central to JSP.”  

Rachel Brodie described her own experience with JSP: “I’ve been a participant and consultant to JSP for the past two years. My initial interest in JSP’s process was fueled by personal experience. Inevitably, I’d leave a program—whether it lasted a few hours or a few days—feeling like I’d been engrossed in a wonderful book, gained insight from studying Torah with peers, attended to some internal unrest and woken from a delicious nap renewed and ready to reengage with the work of being alive.”  

From 2011 to 2016 Brodie served as the Chief Jewish Officer of the JCC of San Francisco, and before that, she was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Jewish Milestones: a nonprofit educational resource for Jewish lifecycle ceremonies. Brodie officially joins the JSP team on July 1st, 2019. She describes this move in her own words: “As I have begun to deepen my understanding of this unique methodology, and have had the opportunity to witness, first-hand, the impact on participants who engage with JSP, the more certain I am that supporting the vision and working with the outstanding JSP team is the best place to put my energy and experience to work.”

Rachel Brodie’s hire has generated excitement among JSP’s supporters. “Over many years, I've seen how Rachel’s creative flair, love for teaching and learning, and infectious personality help people of all ages and vast backgrounds connect to Jewish life in unique and meaningful ways,” says Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation, which recently awarded Jewish Studio Project $250,000 to launch a strategic planning process and to build organizational capacity. Finestone continued: “With their talented team in place, Jewish Studio Project is poised to create even more pathways for people to experience Jewish community and life that speaks to their passions and interests—and that helps them do good in the world.”

Since 2015, JSP has become a leading resource for creative learning and spiritual engagement across the country. JSP’s methodology combines creative practices from the field of art therapy with those from the Jewish house of inquiry (beit midrash). This unique approach empowers individuals and organizations with a set of interpersonal and leadership skills deeply needed in our disconnected and polarized world, including skills to: navigate uncertainty, process complexity and cultivate curiosity. ”I have observed my peers yearning for spiritual, creative, and intellectual homes, and JSP’s work offers a way to combine all of those in one place,” says inaugural JSP training fellow Rabbi Rebecca Richman. “When our world feels so broken, it is healing, empowering, and resilience-building to create. Practicing with materials makes it feel more possible to make actual change. It’s a powerful reminder that mess can be transformed. JSP is empowering me with a process and network as I work to build a creative learning studio in my own community.”

Rabbi Adina Allen remarked on this phase of JSP’s evolution: “I grew up in the Studio learning the foundations of this methodology from my mom, a leader in the field of art therapy. From an early age, when faced with a question or challenge, she would always ask me, “Have you made art about it yet?” It’s incredible to be sharing this question and our process of creative inquiry with a new generation of leaders. Rachel’s brilliance as a facilitator, passion for learning, and collaborative nature make her the perfect leader to join us in bringing this work more fully into the world.”

Jeff Kasowitz