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Express Yourself: A New View of Traditional Stories

Posted by boston.com  February 19, 2014 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by North Shore Teen Initiative: 

On Tuesday night, February 11th, 22 North Shore teens took a new look at some old traditions.  Led by American-Israeli artist Max Werber, teens experienced an energetic exploration of modern and traditional music, art and stories during Discussion #3 in the Torah Hub for Teens series – Express Yourself!

Express Yourself! is the third in this year’s collaborative discussion series for Jewish teens. Following dinner and social time, participants were asked to rethink and retrace the inspirations for some well-known stories, songs and visual art. At the Aviv Centers for Living campus in Peabody, Werber and a team of Jewish educators and leaders began the evening by asking teens to listen to popular songs such as “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” then identify if the lyrics were Bible-inspired and what they mean.

Teens were also asked to close their eyes and “let their pencils take a walk” across the blank page in front of them, creating both abstract and representational shapes. They learned basic principals of art, design and creativity as they added color to their “automatically-drawn” shapes. Teens then superimposed their own poems using words that resonated with them, touching on inspirational themes and imagery.

Teens in attendance included confirmation and pre-confirmation students from Temple B’nai Abraham, Temple Beth Shalom and Temple Ner Tamid. Small groups were led by Adam Smith, Executive Director of North Shore Teen Initiative (NSTI), Dan Brosgol, Director of Prozdor, High School of Hebrew College, Rabbi Emily Mathis, Cantor and Pre-Confirmation Director Jeri Robins and Pre-Confirmation Teacher Bari Johnson, all of Temple Beth Shalom. 

Guest artist and instructor Max Werber earned his degree in Fine Arts from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He lived in Jerusalem, Israel for ten years where he exhibited sculptures and paintings at the Israel Museum of Jerusalem as well as The Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Werber currently teaches at Prozdor High School at Hebrew College in Newton.

Now in its third year, The Hub discussion series for Jewish teens was created and executed via a collaboration of 12 North Shore temples and youth organizations and Prozdor. “The Hub comprises fun, interactive, hands-on sessions that address a wide variety of current topics in Jewish life,” said NSTI’s Executive Director Adam Smith. “Teens have significant opportunities to make deep connections with other Jewish teens on the North Shore while learning from an excellent team of educators.”

The final discussion in the 2013-14 Hub series is Understanding Freedom on Tuesday, March 11, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Aviv. Teens can register at www.nsteeninitiative.org/TheHub.html
The Hub is supported in part by CJP and an exciting partnership with Prozdor of Hebrew College. 

For more information on The Hub and other programs for Jewish teens, visit www.nsteeninitiative.org or www.facebook.com/nsti18, email at info@nsteeniniative.org or call 781.244.5544.

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