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January 2023

Pedagogy of the Word: Jewish Writing Practice for Increased Wellbeing

Naama Sadan
PhD Student in Environmental Studies
UC Berkeley & the Hebrew University
The pedagogy of the word as a tool to achieving inner balance

Balancing production and rest, giving and receiving, is essential to our well-being. The pedagogy of the word (POW) reclaims the most Jewish tool – the word – as a tool to achieve that inner balance. Jewish tradition, for the most part, used writing words for expanding knowledge, writing arguments, and generally – producing. POW is inspired by Jewish teachers who saw the individual’s inner world as a realm to the divine and the quieting and retreating as a counterbalance to the drive of productivity. POW, is a pedagogy that employs writing tools that use words to make space, retreat, and create intimacy with oneself. It uses interpretive tools to demarcate our inner experience, gain more agency in managing the inner experience and make space for a quiet heart. A heart that can rest and hear G-d’s whisper within a world oriented toward productivity.

Naama Sadan is a teacher and a learner. Her interest in systems takes her between different worlds: environmental issues, inner work, Jewish learning, and embodied practice. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University, learning environmental policy networks. Additionally, she is the founder of ‘intentional flowers’, a kabbalistic-inspired floral studio, and the lead teacher at the Eiynaich Yonim fellowship for spiritual climate leadership. Her entry into the well-being work was through Yemima, the “Jewish feminine Rebbe”. As a learner and practitioner of the Yemima method for the last 12 years (Hashiva Hakaratit - raising consciousness), she is eager to bring feminine voices to the conversation about Jewish pedagogies of well-being. She lives with her husband in Berkeley, CA.
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