Home Resources A Jewish Pedagogy of Creative Wellbeing: Connection through Wonder
March 2024

A Jewish Pedagogy of Creative Wellbeing: Connection through Wonder

Fraidy Aber
The Constance Wolf Director of Education and Civic Engagement
Contemporary Jewish Museum
Embracing the pedagogy of wonder can foster greater understanding and interconnectedness.

Wonder and creativity have long been integral to Jewish practice, contributing to continuity, resilience, and a sense of wholeness or wellbeing. This aligns with studies showing that participating in creative activity in a community is a potent tool for helping individuals develop a sense of positivity, purpose, and connection. Nurturing student creativity fosters inquisitiveness, persistence, curiosity, self-reflection, and collaboration. Creative expression and the arts are areas that welcome students’ perspectives expansively, allowing for nuance and for experiencing learning and sharing through a multitude of modalities. Creative experiences also invite students’ personal backgrounds and varied experiences. Creative expression in the classroom is built upon a culture of curiosity and wonder, a sense of openness toward one another and the world around us. In young student classrooms, in particular, collective creative experiences can help support peer relationships which form the building blocks for students’ continued social-emotional skills. Connecting through creative expression can be most successful in spaces in which the ongoing culture of connection is visibly valued and practiced.

Fraidy Aber is the Constance Wolf Director of Education and Civic Engagement at The Contemporary Jewish Museum where she manages a team who collectively produce a vibrant suite of offerings welcoming all to explore the evolving, dynamic Jewish life of today. Centering community collaboration and well-being, Fraidy provides leadership for experiences for families, teens, teachers, students, and seniors as well as for public programs. Previously, Fraidy served as Executive Director of the Vail Symposium, and prior, Fraidy led Educational and Public Programs at Hudson River Park in Manhattan. Fraidy holds a BS in Biology from Cornell University, and a Masters of Education from Harvard University.


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