Creative Torah Academy: A New Way to Do Jew School
What if creative spiritual practice was a part of Jewish education? If the paintbrush, dance shoe, sense of humor, yoga mat, and drum kit were as integral a part of Jewish education as a tallit, siddur, and Hebrew letters? Open Temple’s Creative Torah Academy is a unique Jewish Journey for students to engage in Torah, Jewish Civilization, Thought and Traditions through art, music, dance, theater, nature and spirituality. Our studio sessions, creative activities, discussion forums, guest artists and visits to locations around Venice and Los Angeles nurture the Jewish imagination and critical thinking.
And we believe in setting families up for success. We depart from the traditional weekly Hebrew School obligation and offer a program of twice/monthly experiences. Approximately once a month your student will attend Creative Torah Academy – our Hebrew School of the Arts. And over the course of the school year you you are invited to attend enrichment experiences–again, usually offered on a monthly basis.
Mordecai Kaplan, the inspiration for the founding of Reconstructionist Judaism, is famously quoted saying, “Judaism is the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people.” Within that statement, Kaplan captures the enduring vivacity, community and spirituality of the Jewish people and its most enduring element: adaptability.
At Creative Torah Academy, we are not only teaching the next generation of Jews about the content of Jewish history, thought and peoplehood, but the methods of thought behind Jewish adaptation. The disciplines of art and spirituality are the lenses through which we refract the “hidden Jewish light” that the Torah teaches us was created on the first day of creation, and collectively explore what is revealed through this “bending” of tradition.
Creative Torah Academy brings the Open Temple methodology of “performance art ritual”- engaging prompts, contemporary conflicts, creative departures from text and tradition – into the “Hebrew School” classroom, where the classroom is transformed into an atelier, dance and yoga studio, and black box theatre. Our students are young people who thrive in the creative and individualistic curriculum, who think for themselves and enjoy sharing their individuality with others to create something larger together. Our students are the children of intermarried couples, assimilated Jews, Jews without Jewish education, or Jews with too much Jewish education, Jews who feel disenfranchised or alienated from Jewish life as the prayers and rituals seem remote or Jews on the periphery and their children. Open Temple provides a place for all of the “Jew-ishly curious” to reclaim our spiritual center right where we are and apply the knowledge we possess to the knowledge we inherit. “Co-Creators” are playful, fun, quiet, bold, colorful, shy – and what we all have in common is that we are curious and willing to create something through our curiosity. Together.
Classes are now in formation for Fall 2017/5778. For further inquiry and to sign up:
Your donation for Creative Torah Academy is tax deductible. Open Temple believes that participation in Creative Torah Academy is for the whole family and requires that families become Open Temple co-creators before beginning Creative Torah Academy. If our suggested membership rates aren’t affordable for your family, please contact us and we will work something out.
Our 2017-2018 rates are as follows:
Shabbat Dance Party (6 and under): $36/family per session, or $100 for the year.
Arts 36 (7-11): $1800
B Mitzvah: $6500
The evening was amazing, the service was more than wonderful and one that everyone is still talking about. Our friends and family were left with a feeling of knowing what they sat through – a loving, warm service that transmitted the knowledge of what the process was all about. They experienced a Bar Mitzvah in a way none have done so before (as did we).
– Max’s Mom