One incredibly exciting direction Atiq has taken this year is our collaborations with other local Jewish organizations. Rabbi Yoshi Fenton is the Executive Director of Studio 70 - A Learning Laboratory, the org that runs the Edah afterschool program, among other Jewish education related activities, and is always on the lookout for ways to expand and deepen the ways that Edah invites learners into Jewish tradition. So when Yoshi called us at Atiq to suggest that perhaps we could adapt our typical program (multi-age geared towards ages 10-adult; around 3 hrs per workshop), to work within their framework (multi-age kindergarten-6th grade; rotating groups of students who may be with us anywhere from 15-30 minutes at a time; 2 days a week every week), I knew we were in for experimenting within a space of mystery. And so, amidst weeks interwoven with holiday after holiday, we dove in, and began to tinker.
Our first arc of learning tracked beginnings - the first actions of creation, as well as the start of the new year. Week 1/Creation: We explored the first verse in the Torah which speaks of dividing (and implicitly, of connecting) as one of the first motions of creation, and so we ourselves divided with scissors or tearing, and connected things with various forms of glue and tape. We used a small selection of basic materials - glue, paper, scissors, tape - to really put the focus firmly on attending to what we were noticing, learning from the materials themselves. We asked the materials, what are you capable of, what do you want to do or be, or would you rather not do or be? What can I do with you?
Second week which also coincided with the week of Rosh Hashanah: a forsaken grand piano became the landscape for exploring the New Year, and RHs other names of Kesah (eg hidden, the holiday that occurs when the moon is completely hidden), Yom Hadin (day of judgement) and Yom Hazikaron (day of remembering). We explored those concepts as we thought of ourselves as individuals entering the new year by asking as we tinkered with the piano: what does this contain? How might we dismantle this without breaking it, in order to possibly build it back up in a new way?
Our third week, as we approach Yom Kippur, brought us to the topic of collaboration: Who can we be with someone else that we couldn’t be ourselves? Edahnicks (ie program participants) were tasked with creating a contraption that could only work with two people (eg like those tin can walkie-talkies).
Sukkot took us into exploring what it looks like to work on a collaborative project designed to create a space for sacred gathering as a community.
Can’t wait for new adventures in the weeks ahead. Post-chagim we will be tinkering and creating within longer thematic arcs - looking forward to sharing more when we dive into that!