Expressive Arts-based Jewish Education
I’ve played many roles in my life, from waitressing to owning my own restaurants; from selling tickets to performing in sold-out shows; from running focus groups on Madison Avenue to translating in Tel Aviv; working with toddlers; engaging with seniors; working with at-risk Israeli youth, Jewish American teens, and blended and interfaith families.
I’ve been a boss, a worker, a therapist, a client, a student, and a teacher. I’m a goofy single mother of two just-grown kids, and an older sister who’s lost her only brother; I’m a Jewish American woman who’s lived in the Middle East and Europe, who could eat spaghetti Bolognese for the rest of her life, and who’s favorite place on the planet (so far) is a little town not far from Monterey, CA.
One thing that has accompanied me throughout it all, and perhaps a little because of it all, is artmaking. More specifically, expressive art. Hooked on writing and acting from a very young age, I recognized that engaging in these practices made me feel better, helped me understand things more clearly, supported the formation of new or different perspectives, and, in general, kept meaning in my life, even during the inevitable times in life I felt there wasn’t any.
I earned my B.F.A in Acting from Boston University and then life took me on a different trajectory which eventually led to me following up my undergraduate degree with a Masters in Expressive Arts Therapies and Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Psychodrama at Lesley University. After several years of working with the Israeli foster care system and a long-term care unit at a public hospital, I moved back to the United States and shifted my focus to bringing the tools and techniques from psychodrama and expressive arts therapies to a pedagogical platform.
I began to adapt psychodrama methods and activities to support a healthy, curious, and supportive learning environment for students of all ages. It was this work that led me to my first publication and to my current doctoral studies, which explore whether psychodrama-based professional training supports teachers’ sense of self-efficacy and classroom management.
Although I may not be a strict follower of Halacha, I am fiercely Jewish. Integrating Jewish learning and expressive arts come hand-in-hand for me, and the excitement I feel when I witness a student’s discovery, so much like a revelation, occurring during the creative process, is something I want to share with other educators. It is this passion for Jewish learning and the arts, along with the myriad experiences I’ve had in my many roles, that have led me to focus on working with Jewish educators on building a better and brighter future.
As a teacher and consultant in the Bay Area, I support Jewish educators in cultivating creative and person-centered classrooms, both in-person and in online formats; I offer leadership training for Jewish youth and teens; and I facilitate enrichment programs for youth, teens, and families in synagogues, preschools, and Jewish day schools.
My hope is to foster innovative leadership and inspire life-long Jewish learning in all ages, and I am committed to advocating for community connection through creative expression.