Marilyn Cole & Francis Zusman-Sina - EMUNAH High School for Torah and the Arts
Talent is a divine gift. Yet, it is one that is too often left uncultivated within the religious community. Many religious youngsters who are artistically gifted are thwarted by the lack of a suitable framework where they can develop their talents. Either they are forced to give up their artistic aspirations, or they must compromise and study at a non-religious school.
In 1992, in a bold attempt to address this pressing need, a group of academics, artists, public figures, and rabbis joined together to realize a revolutionary concept in Israeli education. Supported by EMUNAH, they launched a unique and outstanding program of academic and artistic excellence, The School for Torah and the Arts, a unique High School for girls in Katamon, Jerusalem.
Here, for the first time, talented, religious young women in Israel have an opportunity to seriously pursue their art within the framework of a Torah environment. The school combines the study of Torah with a full academic program in the sciences and humanities, and a curriculum in the arts which encompass painting, sculpting, photography, graphics, music, drama and communications media. The educational goal is to produce well-rounded, forward-looking young women, who are sophisticated in their creativity and capable of contributing to the development of Jewish cultural expression within Israeli society.
EMUNAH is no novice to the combination of serious Jewish education combined with a sophisticated arts program. Since 1973 it has supported Israel’s only College of arts operated under religious auspices – the EMUNAH College of Arts and Technology in Jerusalem. The College is a natural candidate to fulfill the advanced education of the graduates of the School for Torah and the Arts.
Today, the vision of the school’s founders has become an exciting reality. Located in crowded and temporary quarters in Jerusalem, the building literally hums with the excitement of gifted young musicians, artists and performers. The students are selected for admission on the basis of their academic record as well as through auditions, portfolios, and testing for artistic potential. Since talent has no relation to socio-economic background, there is an ongoing need to provide scholarship assistance as well as special equipment (i.e. musical instruments, art supplies) for needy students. EMUNAH makes every effort to raise additional funding to meet those needs.
The school has attained a nationwide reputation for excellence. Students have not only flourished artistically, but their grades in academic subjects have been above average. Competition for available spaces is intense and it is one of the most sought-after girl’s high schools in Jerusalem.
EMUNAH of America has embarked on a building campaign for The School for Torah and the Arts. The campaign includes an opportunity to name the school, as well as the academic and arts departments, classrooms, science, art and music labs, the auditorium, and the library. In addition, there are dedication opportunities for computer rooms, communications and media equipment, musical instruments, and scholarship fund endowments.
At a time when mass media plays such a central role in the transmission of priorities and culture, it is vital to the future of the State of Israel that the arts and media reflect the eternal values of the Jewish people. Our graduates offer a new aspect to Israel’s cultural life – artistic expression inspired by Jewish heritage.
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