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Manhattan Living & Learning – Continuing the Conversation

Dear Participants of the Manhattan Fall 2013 Living & Learning,

I’m still thinking about our experience in the museum: Powerful learning in alternative spaces. What was so great about our day at the Museum at the City of New York?  For me it was:

1. Uplifting. The marble foyer, the brown cushioned seating and the crystal mobile dancing with the light set a tone of beauty.

The Janet Ruttenberg  exhibit tapped memory and stirred imagination.


2. Time for listening to the quiet voice inside. The first stroll through the gallery I did it alone.  I had quiet time to think and feel…which is different than time to do.

3. Gently opened relationships. I then walked the museum with Rachel and then Leigh.
Each had something to say that helped me in a comfortable way get to know them.

4. Jewish. The exhibit stirred experience with color.  It was enriching to hear ancient use of color in conversation with contemporary use of color. Thousands of years and they say the same thing. I stand today…connected to yesterday.

And I have to ask…was it so great because we are all figuring out how we can end the divide that being Jewish is on special days in certain spaces?

Now I’d like for you to help continue the conversation online (Click on this article’s title in order to respond) :

Share something you are still thinking about?

What’s space got to do with powerful learning?

What else is continuing to resonate with you?


13 responses to “Manhattan Living & Learning – Continuing the Conversation”

  1. Tamara Gropper says:

    Going to the Museum of the City of New York proved something of a revelation to me. I had never been there in the ten years I’ve lived in the New York area, and I’m definitely going back. Sharing the experience with members of the Jewish Education Project staff and the educators who inspire us made it even more powerful. As we spoke about the use of alternative space, it became clear that we don’t often have the luxury of designing learning with a specific space in mind. More often it’s an alternative space simply because we are out of space and are just grateful to be able to fit everyone in. Sunday’s Living and Learning challenged all of us to consider what we, as learners, need in order to pay attention in an unfamiliar space. Time alone, time with peers, looking through our own unique lens, looking through an external lens, seeing what stood out for ourselves and what stood out for others, and significantly, time to reflect on what the experience had offered each of us. I know I’ll see Central Park in a different light now, and I’m pretty sure that my interactions with my colleagues will be richer and definitely more colorful as well.

    • Cyd says:

      I’m wondering about the Pew study and if people see there are implications for Powerful learning in Alternative Spaces?

  2. Michael Mellen says:

    I’m thinking about how I could walk through just about any art gallery in two minutes. No problem. Most museums, even great museums – 45 minutes. I’m game to go, but I’m ‘good’ after a short time. I’ve had my fill. It was different on Sunday. Sunday resonated in at least three ways: First, the space (art gallery and museum) sat in contrast to the idea of Professional Learning. So from the beginning I was glad to be in a different space, even one I only saw spending two minutes in. Second, the assignment and, especially, the accountability to the others in my group, pushed me to look more deeply, spend more time, really notice and, strangely, to enjoy the noticing. Odd to me how an assignment helped me enjoy something more. Third, I’m struck by how important it was to walk through the experience with other people. I care more about other people and how they see the world than I do about the paintings themselves. So the interaction with them, seeing the world through their eyes, and the reflection of my words back to me helped the paintings live a bit with me, helped me see them more deeply. How about you?

    • Cyd says:

      The experience of returning to the paintings was a bit of “turn and turn” again for me. Other than Torah I can’t think of another book I’ve read again and again. And going through the gallery with others again and again also helped me go deeper..not something I do very often.

  3. Jen Goldsmith says:

    I was left thinking about what it means to create learning in alternative spaces that are not inheritantly Jewish and what you can do as an educator to use that space to create a powerful Jewish learning experience. One of the most interesting pieces of discussion our group had was thinking about the Jewish texts we shared on color and the impact those texts had on what each person noticed in the paintings as well as what to do with texts that used the color differently than the artist did. I was also left thinking about how powerful it can be to create a protocol that takes people through the experience encouraging them to notice in different ways and with different groups of people.

    • Cyd says:

      The text we studied was green. In the paintings we noticed how green was lush and anchored in nature. And in the Torah all the references we looked at were lush and about nature. A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
      He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
      It still is a nice place to go

    • Mara Braunfeld says:

      I am also continuing to think about what it means to create Jewish learning in non-Jewish spaces. Our group had, arguably, a very Jewish experience looking at the artwork and then discussing it to make connections to our work as educators, with students, etc. I find myself still wondering about what we need to ensure the “Jewish” part of the conversation…is it providing texts to ground the conversation? is it about making sure a facilitator is there to help make connections? can any space be utilized?

  4. Alex Tansky says:

    Driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood, noticing a number of cars legally double parked in front of the many churches, visiting the Museum of the City of New York for the first time, discovering a new part of Central Park – all very powerful experiences. The most eye-opening part is spending time in the gallery. First, exploring the art and the Park through the eyes of the artist on my own and then rediscovering it all over again through interaction with the rest of my group. Thank you to the Jewish Education Project team for inspiration to think about potential for powerful learning in alternative spaces. And I will be back exploring the museum and Central Park near it.

    • Cyd says:

      Alex ..as always good to be with you…it was really refreshing for me to be in different space and see things anew. How do those cars get away with double parking?

      I wonder for children and families how the experience of new space influences learning?

  5. Hilary Schumer says:

    I’m struck by the way we were able to have a profoundly Jewish experience in a location that is not a Jewish space. I have been to the Museum of the City of New York before, and it is amazing how the right context can completely transform a space! Framing the day through the lens of “noticing” grounded my time in the museum, and I really appreciated that we started with the artwork itself and then let the Judaism naturally and gradually inform our noticing. Having Judaism support the experience and space rather than making the space support the Jewish content allows us and learners to to see the potential for being and living Jewishly in any space. It is a small, yet crucial distinction; one I did not notice until Sunday, and one I won’t soon forget.

  6. Mason Voit says:

    This was among my favorite Lomed experiences. In addition to thinking about the role of space in learning, I was reminded that I do, in fact, enjoy interacting with art and exploring museums. And there were snacks! This was, without a doubt, the most important experience I have had in years while wearing purple.

    • Cyd says:

      My most important experience wearing purple was delivering a Monologue in front of the entire junior high when I was in 8th grade. I spoke as if I were a girl on the Titanic..we were going down–and I wore a purple vest and skirt.
      Color..how it impacts memory? Space how it impacts learning?

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