Brandeis Welcomes Educators from Around the Country for Ethical Creativity Institute

Over the summer, 21 educators from Jewish schools around the country—from Atlanta, to Portland, to Los Angeles—are participating in the second annual Ethical Creativity Institute (ECI) hosted by The Brandeis School of San Francisco. The ECI is a professional development program aimed at connecting design thinking, innovation, and Jewish ethics, while encouraging cross-pollination among a range of Jewish educators. “The goal of the week was to introduce people to the maker spaces—CREATE and BUILD—here at Brandeis, and provide them with the pedagogical backgrounds and tools so they can use them in their classrooms and in their practice as teachers,” explains Brandeis Head of School Dr. Dan Glass, one of three facilitators of this weeklong program, along with Brandeis Director of Technology and Making Nicholas Cole-Farrell and Brandeis Maker Educator Sandee Bisson. “We have also been engaging in generative discussions around how Jewish ethics can inform our teaching practice.”
Many guests joined to lead conversations throughout the week, including Rabbi Carla Fenves from San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El; Ellen Deutscher, design thinking expert; Rabbi Adina Allen from the Jewish Studio Project in Berkeley;  Ryan Jenkins and Nicole Catrett of the Wonderful Idea Co.; Leslie Roffman, former head of the Little School; and Ariel Raz of Stanford’s d.school. In addition to visiting guests, the group traveled to both the Jewish Studio Project and the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). Led by Fraidy Aber, CJM director of education, the group took in some of the museum’s exhibits and asked the question, “How is this Jewish?”
The workshops explored design thinking, designing for multiple audiences, Jewish peoplehood, how Jewish identity impacts teaching and connections with students, what the Torah has to say about creativity, and the ethics of empathy. Says Dr. Glass, “It’s pretty amazing to see people engaging with cutting-edge pedagogy and cutting-edge questions about the nature of Jewish identity simultaneously. It’s such a dynamic educational environment.” MORE PHOTOS