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Sparks of Creation: A Creative Arts Lab for Hanukkah

  • December 4, 2021 @ 5:15 pm - 7:30 pm

  • Venue:


Join us as we bring the Shabbat of Hanukkah to a close for an interactive evening of the arts as a vehicle for exploring light, creativity, and Hanukkah! We’ll gather in person for arvit and havdalah and the lighting of the Hanukkah candles, and get a sneak peak at the BJ Theater Company’s Hanukkah play before breaking off into workshops to explore the themes of the season through a specific creative arts process.

Register now to join one of these workshops with our extraordinary guest faculty:

See below for more information about these workshops and the guest instructors.

Looking to join us remotely? No problem. Register to join us remotely for the candle lighting and then experience the creative writing workshop on Zoom! No matter how you’re joining us, register now to reserve your place at this truly unique Hanukkah celebration!

Workshop Descriptions

Movement and Dance with Hadar Ahuvia

In this workshop, we explore how text, ideas, and questions can be activated in the body. We will have the joy of moving with and witnessing each other. No prior dance experience is necessary. Please bring a water bottle, a notebook, your favorite writing utensil, and wear clothing in which you feel comfortable moving.

Hadar Ahuvia is an independent dancer, choreographer, Jewish educator and service leader weaving her love of movement, song, and Jewish community in NYC/Lenapehoking for the past ten years. Her choreographic work has been supported by Baryshnikov Arts Center, the 14th Street Y, Danspace Project, Yaddo and Gibney Dance among others. Her essay on choreographing a diasporic Israeli identity beyond Zionism is featured in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Jewishness in Dance. Ahuvia is a recipient of a Bessie nomination for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer, was one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch in 2019,” and a 2020 New Brooklyn Culture Fellow with Tatyana Tenebaum. She will make her BAM debut with Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group in January. Learn more at hadarahuvia.com.

Musical Workshop for Children and Families

Join BJ artist in residence Shira Averbuch for a musical workshop of song and connection geared specifically for families. We will dive into our inner light and come together in communal light though mindful music meditation, movement, drumming, and song. Our workshop will culminate with writing our very own song of light as a group.

Shira Averbuch is a NYC-based Israeli-American singer-songwriter and serves as the artist in residence at B’nai Jeshurun. Born in upstate NY to Israeli parents, Shira split her time growing up between Israel and the States. After finishing her service in the Israeli Army Band, Shira moved to NYC. She graduated from the New School with a BFA in Musical Theater with a minor in Music Therapy and found her place sharing her healing song in both the Jewish world and the world at large.

“Golden-voiced singer”—New York Times 

“Shira presents an authentic narrative of longing for places we call home, as we head toward new frontiers — a metaphor we can all relate to right now.”—Americana Highways

Learn more at shiraofficial.com.

Visual Art with Rebecca Katz

What do you want to illuminate in your life? In this intergenerational workshop, light up your creativity and explore the meaning of Hanukkah using the Jewish Studio Process methodology. No artistic experience necessary—just an openness to playing with new materials. 

Rebecca Katz is an artist and educator from Brooklyn, NY. She’s spent the past decade working in the Jewish social justice movement with teens through adults. Rebecca operates from a foundational belief that everyone is creative. She’s focused on bringing the creative process to all aspects of movement building and as a space for people to reflect on their connection to social justice, identity, and place. You can currently see her comics and illustrations published in Lilith magazine.

Creative Writing with Joy Ladin

In this workshop, we will use writing prompts—open-ended jumping off points for you to explore in any way you are inspired to—to kindle new ways of thinking about light in our lives, and beyond. Bring your imagination, memories, longings, sparks, and something to write with.  This program is available in person and on Zoom.

Joy Ladin has published nine books of poetry, including The Book of Anna, recently reissued by EOAGH Press; a memoir, National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life; and Lambda Literary and Triangle Award finalist, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Links to her writings, readings, interviews and talks are at her website, joyladin.wordpress.com

Harmony and Communal Song with Deborah Sacks Mintz

How do we harness the expansive layers of harmonies and unearth the potential textures of sound to create communal melodies in the real-time act of communal song and prayer? In this experiential session, we’ll explore strategies and tools for realizing this potential in our own voices—as individuals and as communities—and weave together new melodies through a co-created collaborative process.

Deborah Sacks Mintz is an educator, practitioner, and facilitator of Jewish communal music, supporting those who seek to deepen their practice of empowered song and connective prayer.  As a musician, Deborah has partnered creatively with a diverse array of voices in the Jewish soundscape; in addition to collaborating on over two dozen albums, she released her debut record of original spiritual music, The Narrow and the Expanse, in 2020 on Rising Song Records. Beloved ongoing artistic projects include Rabbi Josh Warshawsky’s Chaverai Nevarech, New Moon Rising with Elana Arian and Chava Mirel, and Joey Weisenberg’s Hadar Ensemble. A candidate for rabbinic ordination and an MA in Women and Gender Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Deborah serves Hadar’s Rising Song Institute as an artist, consultant, and teacher. An alum of B’nai Jeshurun’s Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellowship, Deborah is honored to continue to serve BJ through music and prayer. Learn more at deborahsacksmintz.com.

Improv Comedy with Leanne Velednitsky

Improv is about making things up. Full stop. The truest and purest form of creating something from absolutely nothing. We’re gonna be silly, we’re going to laugh, we’re going to be spewing nonsense! The divine light of creation is meant to celebrate and inspire every little moment. And in improv, we learn to not judge our creativity and instead say “YES, And…” Come join in on the fun and connect with your inner goof!

Leanne Velednitsky is a New York based actor, writer, comedian, dancer, producer, and shower-singer. You may have seen her Off-Broadway in Puffs, performing comedy all over the city or at her sold out comedy variety show, Backyard Show. You can learn more about her at leannevelednitsky.com or talk to her at the Creative Arts Lab! She’s very friendly and has a firm handshake you don’t want to miss.


Register now to join one of these workshops with our extraordinary guest faculty.


257 West 88th Street
New York, NY 10024 United States
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