Education students are challenged to read, investigate, study, think, and plan. But what makes education vibrant, dynamic and personal is the infusion of the study with creativity - blending the thinking with dreaming and the planning with cultural inquiry and exploration.
With this in mind and generous support from the Covenant Foundation, the Graduate Center for Education created Dream Lab, a think tank of artists and educators developing a programmatic vision for infusing the field of Jewish education with creativity through the arts. Our goal is to prepare the field to meet The Creativity Imperative through professional training and support for artists who want to serve as educators and rethinking conventional modes of teaching and learning that dominate the landscape.
Over the past six months, we have begun to map our vision for realizing these aims. This fall, we launched an experimental graduate course – part “pedagogy test kitchen” and part “Inside the Actor’s Studio” – in which leading teaching artists/creators will teach Judaics through the arts. Guest artists include photographer Zion Ozeri, playwright and director Aaron Henne, g-dcast founder Sarah Lefton, choreographers Andrea Hodos and Kristen Smiarowski and world-renowned Judaica artist David Moss.
Out of the cumulative experience of exploring Judaism through various artistic media, our learning community - consisting of artists and our working professionals students, and guided by the Dean - will have the opportunity to redefine a vision of teaching Judaics through the arts. Our goal is to make the case, through our experiments, for bringing the arts to center stage in Jewish education.
We are dreaming big, and are thrilled that the Covenant Foundation has recognized our vision and our potential. There is exciting change on the horizon, and AJU is there, shaping the dream into reality. We look forward to sharing inspiring stories as we – educators and artists – begin to learn together in cohesive community.
By next Rosh Hashanah, the Dream Lab faculty and fellows hope to provoke a process of real creative interpretation and production among young Jews and partner with educators to rethink how to integrate arts into their curriculum. Often on the margins of Jewish life, Jewish artists are stepping into the core to redefine teaching and learning. Let this be the year of the creative in Jewish life.