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What’s Space Got to do with Powerful Learning?

By Rina Moscovitz, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York 

11/7/13

Extended Space in the Museum of the City of New York – October 6, 2013

For me there is a connecting thread between the space we visited, the artwork shown, the Bible texts, the LOMED powerful learning experience and what we bring into our classrooms as Jewish Educators.

The first art work by Janet Ruttenberg titled “Lemonade is so Last Summer” elicited words such as: gold sun rays, sparkles glistening behind the canvas, airy and light weight sensation, brought upon by the white, yellow and green colors, and bright light in the physical sense as well as illuminations, enlightenment and insights. What also caught my eye on the top part of the painting was the extended painted images of leaves that associated for me as physical extensions, enlarging the borders of the canvas to the space above, as if to note that there is more beyond the physical rectangular surface of the artwork.

The second painting titled “Shakespeare” which is a dark moon night painting had glimpses of light projected on the figures from the front and the back of the canvas. It gave me the feeling of depth and mysterious lively movement, up close and far views of couples dancing in circular movements. This art-work elicited notions of extended space by adding the video, the sound and length of time of the dance, which had a beginning and an end to it. The notion of time was extended when the video continued in a cyclical manner over and over again.

That brought me to think about space as extended spaces related to dimensionality, layers of meaning, multisensory mediums and how time is a continuum and more over an expansion of space in many directions and dimensions.

When we sat down to read the three pieces of Bible text, noting words, color and time, it all came together and the connecting thread made sense to me. As Jewish Educators in Jewish Congregational schools we are continuing and extending the Jewish time, the Jewish thread and our Jewish space of time to the next generation.

We are noticing the now, noticing our surroundings in relationship to the space of time from then to now and making intricate connections.

In a way we are making space in our hearts and minds for powerful learning, for light and connecting the far and the close, making sense of our Jewish heritage for us as educators as well as for our students.

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