HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

The Arts in Jewish Education

The Arts in Jewish Education

With innovation recognized as a premium for all education, the arts need to be taken more seriously, plumbed for pedagogy and curriculum, and integrated into the classroom across the curriculum. The arts represent distinct disciplines with their own histories and methods. For Jewish studies, they offer a vehicle for student interpretation, a different entry point into Jewish text and tradition.

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by RAVSAK Staff Apr 03, 2008

We are pleased to introduce a new column starting this issue. Bookcase will feature books, articles, and websites pertaining to the theme of the current issue of HaYidion for readers who wish to investigate the topic in greater depth.

From the Desk of Susan Weintrob, RAVSAK President

by Susan Weintrob Apr 03, 2008

The Talmud asks the question, מי חכם? “Who is wise?” and answers: “The person who can see into the future.” But who among us is a seer? Who can foretell what tomorrow will bring?

A Word from the Editor

by Dr. Barbara Davis Apr 03, 2008

Judaism and the arts have always had a complicated relationship. Whether it be an avoidance of drama because of ecclesiastical connotations, a rejection of vocal music if it included kol isha, the voice of a woman, or the absence of figurative representations in art due to the prohibition of graven images, the arts have historically received shorter shrift in Jewish pedagogy than other subjects.

Letter from London: A Welcome from the Jewish Community Secondary School

by Michael Phillips Apr 03, 2008

In 1951, there were around 450,000 Jews in the United Kingdom; now there are fewer than 300,000. Over the past twenty years, the community has introduced numerous projects designed to reverse this decline, in particular, investing heavily in Jewish day schools. From fewer than 25% of eligible Jewish children attending Jewish day schools in 1985, that figure has risen to around 60% today, with 39 state-funded Jewish schools and more than 50 small private Jewish schools now open across the UK, the vast majority in London.

Jewish Folk Art Traditions: Cultural Identity and Personal Expression

by Jennifer Kalter Apr 03, 2008

With an international collection spanning four centuries, educators at the American Folk Art Museum often teach from objects deriving from religious groups—such as Shaker furniture, Amish quilts, and Decalogues—through discussion-based explorations in the galleries. The recent exhibition “Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel” allowed us to explore sacred and secular objects created by Jewish artisans with a wide range of audiences. Tracing the woodcarving traditions that Jewish immigrants brought with them to the United States from Europe from the late nineteenth through the first half of the twentieth centuries, this groundbreaking exhibition charted the valuable contributions these artisans made to the flourishing American carousel industry. At the same time, it uncovered a trove of examples from authentic Jewish folk arts whose practitioners continue to work today.

From Day School to JDub

by RAVSAK Staff Apr 03, 2008

♦ Interview with Daniel Saks, aka Shank Bone Mystic

[HaYidion asked Daniel Saks, a rising young Jewish musician, to reflect upon the impact that his community day school education had upon him and his musical identity. Here are his candid replies.]

Music Education in Jewish Day Schools

by Daniel Henkin Apr 03, 2008
RELATED TOPICS: ArtsJewish Studies

As a product of the Jewish day school system in the 1970s and 80s and as a Jewish day school music educator for the past fifteen years, I have experienced and observed music education both as a product and a producer. In general, day schools still have a long way to go to reach the level of music education found in a decent public school or a comparable prep school. While there have been some efforts to raise the profile of music in our schools, particularly in the younger years, music education remains all too often a marginal priority in the day school world.

Photography: The Door That Connects

by Zion Ozeri Apr 03, 2008
RELATED TOPICS: ArtsJewish Studies

Photography has a profound ability to speak to students and to empower them because of the accessibility of the medium. Students are used to seeing hundreds of photographic images everyday; they feel a high level of comfort with photography, which enables them to discuss photographic images without reserve or intimidation. Likewise, they are accustomed to taking photographs or digital images from a young age. Even if they have never thought of photography as an art per se, they have developed an innate sense for what makes a picture good and interesting.

Putting the Arts into Jewish Education

by Dr. Ofra Arieli Backenroth Apr 03, 2008
RELATED TOPICS: ArtsJewish Studies

Enter a seventh-grade Hebrew class at the Toronto Heschel School, taught in an art studio. The students, wearing aprons, are sitting around large tables covered with plastic, kneading, rolling, piercing, and shaping clay. They are learning vocabulary pertaining to sculpture in Hebrew and at the same time learning the basics of sculpture. The students are busy working the clay while simultaneously describing their activities in Hebrew. As they knead, they run through a verb conjugation in present tense: Ani lashah chomer, Tovah lashah chomer (I knead the clay, Tovah kneads the clay).

Widening the Learning Circle

by Debbie Krivoy Apr 03, 2008
RELATED TOPICS: ArtsInclusivity

How do the arts show up in our classrooms? What real opportunities does arts integration provide? What do we need to do to make arts-based learning a reality in our school?