Jewish Teens in Boston Embrace Design Thinking

Design Thinking_2by Maya Bernstein and Charlie Schwartz

Last fall, in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Brandeis University’s Office High School Program, decided to replicate their highly successful summer programs year-round. They wanted to engage both the teens who attend their summer programs, and teens less engaged in Jewish communal offerings throughout the year. After sifting through various ideas regarding how to approach this new initiative, the staff decided to use Design Thinking as a methodology – both because it is a cutting-edge initiative in education that they had not yet tapped, and also because they were hoping to use the methodology as a way of engaging teens to design their own Jewish experiences. They hired UpStart Bay Area to collaborate on 5 half-day workshops, and the experiment kicked off.

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1 Year, 7 Lessons

lesson-learnedby Rabbi Sara Luria

In 7th grade drama class, our teacher asked us to come up with adjectives that described our personalities, starting with the first letter of our first names. I chose “Sensitive Sara,” which was true, although not as much fun to say as “Jocular Jeremiah,” who, from what I can tell from our Facebook relationship, remains as jocular as ever.

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