Posts in Creativity
The Holiness of Purim Lies in Glitz, Glam and Color

By Rabbi Adina Allen

“Holy holy holy is the Lord of hosts!” Chanting these words in the Kedushah, we stand, feet together, mimicking the angles on high. As we press up onto our toes, yearning for that Divine connection, we take on the posture of these pure, ethereal beings without physical characteristics that exist only in spirit.

Our conception of holiness often follows on this track, conjuring images of those things pure, simple, beyond the mundanity of the physical world. Our most sacred holiday is often considered to be Yom Kippur — a day on which we wear a plain white ceremonial robe known as a kittel — and which we prepare for by dunking in the mikvah, ritual bathing that requires us to peel away all outer layers (clothes, makeup, jewelry) so as to enter the waters as unadorned as the day we were born.

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Dreaming the World into Being - Parshat Miketz

By Rabbi Adina Allen

Sleep is the place of nightmares. It also the realm of dreams.  According to the Talmud, dreams are one sixtieth of prophecy (Berachot 57b). Maimonides, in his Guide for the Perplexed, writes that through dreams the imaginative faculty is awakened, without which prophecy is impossible (3.36-8).

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Is, Was, Will Be

By Rabbi Adina Allen

The name of God in the Jewish tradition is comprised of four Hebrew letters: yud, hey, vav hey. Unpronounceable, this grouping of letters amounts to the impossible conjugation of the verb “to be” and, if it could be translated at all, it might be read as “is, was, will be.” This name contains the promise and challenge of Judaism: to engage the past in a way that welcomes the full reality of the present so that the future may be beautiful beyond our wildest imagination. Tradition gifts us many tools to navigate this path. One of the most powerful is creative reinterpretation — chidushChidush, from the Hebrew root chadash, meaning “new,” refers to an original insight on a passage of Jewish text.

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The Art of Liberation (Shabbat Chol haMoed Pesach, Exodus 33:12 - 34:26)

The Haggadah tells of our people’s journey from the suffering of slavery to our wild, sea-splitting-open redemption. Around the seder table last week, our observance of the holiday began with a question: “How is this night different from all other nights?: As we discuss and unfurl into our newfound freedom, our questions about the particular night of Passover blossom into new and potent questions about the days and nights that lie ahead.

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Nurturing Art: The Sacred Work of Creativity (Parshat Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Walk into any room of adults and tell them they are going to engage with art materials or explore a topic through creativity — immediately, most people in the room tense up. They turn to each another and say, in nervous voices and muffled tones: “I could never color inside the lines,” “I failed art in kindergarten,” “my sister got all the creative genes,” “you don’t want me touching that paint, it will be a disaster” — as they look longingly towards the door and contemplate a quick escape. Sound familiar?

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CreativityJeff Kasowitz
Art as Inquiry into Jewish Text

The art and writing tasks of the Studio Process access the unlimited potential of the Creative Source. Simple engagement with drawing, painting and sculpture serve as a technology of the sacred, available to anyone at any point in life, with any level of art experience. The core Studio Process can be combined with a group or community intention to explore common issues such as our perception of others, visioning community solutions or creating community celebrations or rituals. We can explore and be guided in our personal lives as well as in our actions in the world.

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CreativityJeff Kasowitz