September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

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The Idea School Is Live in Action

The interdisciplinary Live Action Role Play (LARP) that ninth and 10th grade Idea School students are preparing for the school’s final Exhibition of Learning on June 12 is one of the school’s most ambitious projects yet. Collaboratively planned by Aryeh Laufer, head of STEM; Rabbi Rothblatt, the 9/10 beit midrash teacher; David Karpel, the 9/10 humanities teacher; Avi Kramer, the school’s project specialist, as well as the students—the LARP takes place in the year 2100, and four groups of students have created four scenarios about Jewish life in space that will challenge audiences to consider ethical dilemmas around scientific advancement.

The scenarios all include ethical dilemmas tied to Torah sources the students learned and applied to technology, as well as primary sources from the Scientific Revolution. The characters in each scenario are based on ones in the novel “Frankenstein.” One scenario using a murder mystery as a backdrop, for example, debates the ethics of using mind-reading technology to discover who the murderer is and will get audience members thinking about data and privacy. For this scenario, students are setting John Locke’s political philosophy about an individual’s possessing natural rights that they might transfer to a government for the common good, against Balaam’s statement that the tents of Bnei Yisrael don’t look into each other, that is, that each tent can be considered a sacred mind that deserves privacy.

The past two weeks have seen students deepening their LARP scenarios and preparing for Exhibition by expanding the number of Torah and historical sources they’re using, tying their characters more tightly to their ethical dilemmas, and doing table reads of their loose scripts so they can get into character and get comfortable with what their character would say in the LARP.

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