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Lydia Gonzales


Kabbalah and Creativity: Making/Breaking/Repairing with Yosef Rosen

Thursdays, Sep 5, 12, 19 | 5:30–7pm

ADMISSION: $36 per class; $90 for series

Throughout the past millennium, Kabbalah—the Jewish mystical tradition—has infused Judaism with a profound and unique philosophy of creativity. With its fantastical musings on the connections between cosmology, aesthetics, redemption, and spiritual life, Kabbalah has provided a connection for many Jews between creative practice and mythological theology. At its core, Kabbalistic theory of creativity embraces breakage, deterioration, and repair as essential aspects of the creative process—themes found throughout the exhibition Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped, currently on view. Join historian and teacher Yosef Rosen for an investigation of texts that explore this mystical approach to creativity and discuss how these Kabbalistic meditations relate to contemporary life.


Buy the series for $90, or purchase classes indivdually for $36 each.

The Syllabus
  • Thursday, Sep 5

Making: Diagrams of Creation

This opening session will focus on how pre-modern Jewish mystics diagrammed creative processes. Explore the historical evolution of these diagrams through an examination of medieval manuscripts and a nineteenth-century scroll.

  • Thursday, Sep 12

Breaking: Myths of Exile

Creativity is never a seamless process. There are always breakages, errors, and revisions. This session will explore two Kabbalistic mythologies that account for brokenness in the world.

  • Thursday, Sep 19

Repair: Tikkun before Tikkun Olam 

Tikkun is primarily known today as a reparative mode of social justice. Learn about Kabbalistic origins of this model of repair—when it was focused more on repairing God than on repairing the world—and explore rituals and daily practices of mystical repair.  

About the Teacher
Yosef Rosen
Yosef Rosen

Yosef Rosen is an historian and teacher of the eerie, esoteric, and magical parts of Judaism. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres—Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, poetry, and art—and invite students to discover their own modes of intellectual creativity. He is currently a Jewish Studies teacher at Jewish Community High School of the Bay. He has a PhD in Jewish Studies from University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a dissertation on theological dissensus and spiritual community in medieval Kabbalah. 

about the exhibition

Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped is the first major survey of Annabeth Rosen (b. 1957 Brooklyn, NY), Robert Arneson Chair at UC Davis, and 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.

For over two decades, Rosen has interrogated the medium of ceramics in the context of contemporary art. Featuring ceramics and works on paper from over twenty years, this groundbreaking exhibition examines how Rosen’s work radically defies the limits of her primary medium, pushing it beyond spectacle and into conversations about contemporary painting, feminist theory, endurance-based performance, and conceptual art.

Sculpture composed of many colorful fragments of ceramics, bound together.

Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped (installation view), at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2017. Photo by Annabeth Rosen. Courtesy the artist.


The CJM strives for a welcoming environment for all of our visitors. In addition to ample space for wheelchairs and a friendly environment for service animals, sign language interpretation (ASL) can be scheduled for all programs with at least two weeks notice.

FM assistive listening devices (ALDs) for sound enhancement are available for all talks and tours. Please note that we would like to maintain this as a scent-free environment, and encourage visitors to refrain from using scented products out of respect for visitors with allergies or chemical sensitivities. For additional accommodation requests, please contact The CJM’s Access and Community Engagement Manager at or 415-655-7856.


Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.