January 2022

Creating Sacred Space

Shira Hecht-Koller
Director of Education
Values in Action, M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education
When we plan our educational spaces with deliberation and intention we can make room for the sacred.

Creating sacred space refers to deliberately defining, giving express purpose to, and sanctifying space through restriction/limitation. After having spent many years teaching in a variety of different settings—both formal and informal—and after more than 20 years of building a home as a laboratory for my family’s growth and education, I am prompted to step back and reflect on the principles that underlie the spaces we design and the practices they inform. We construct spaces all the time. How deliberate are we about their purpose? Do we infuse them with sanctity? If so, are we conscious of how we might preserve that sanctity? Offering educators and parents alike a practical toolkit, a set of practices, and questions for reflection offers me the chance to be an architect for the sacred spaces constructed by others.

Shira is an educational entrepreneur, attorney, and writer. She brings with her over fifteen years of experience teaching Jewish Studies and designing interdisciplinary curricula in the classroom and immersive learning environments. Prior to her career in Jewish education, she practiced corporate law at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. She is the author, together with Hanoch Piven, of Dream Big, Laugh Often: And More Great Advice from the Bible (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2023). Her written work appears in both scholarly and popular publications and she lectures widely on topics of creativity, family life, and Jewish texts. She holds a JD from Cardozo School of Law and is a graduate of the Advanced Talmud program at Midreshet Lindenbaum. She is an avid tennis fan and loves exploring the world with her partner Aaron and children Dalya, Shachar, Amitai and Aiden.


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