Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As the first in a series of initiatives on the topic of the arts in Torah education I would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming ATID conference "CREATIVE SPIRITUALITY: JEWISH EDUCATION AND THE ARTS" on Sunday, November 9, 2003 (14 Heshvan 5764) to be held at the Yeshiva University Museum (at the Center for Jewish History), 15 West 16th Street, New York City.
Often, art in the Jewish day school has been limited to narrow purposes. More recently it has been used as a means of enhancing the study of Biblical stories or enriching students' understanding of Jewish history. This conference will address the question: what are the values and ideas inherent in the visual arts that makes them compelling and how can they be used to reinvigorate the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvot—practices that have tragically become, for many students, devoid of mystery and wonder, and what do these ideas and values mean for our work in schools?
The program will include speakers, panelists and a hands-on workshop. You will have the opportunity to learn about what is going on in Jewish Art Education, meet innovative educators and artists and learn about the wide array of resources available. Enclosed you will find a conference flier that you may distribute to your staff as well as registration forms. For the most rewarding results, we recommend that you send teams from your schools made up of administrators, Jewish Studies teachers, and Art teachers.
In addition, I would like to invite you to read an article I have written, "Towards Ahavat Hashem: Art and the Religious Experience." My point of departure is the question: Is there a place for the serious study of fine arts in an Orthodox school, and, if so, what is its specific purpose within the context of the larger curricular goals of Jewish education? The article can be downloaded (as a Word or PDF file) from the links below.
I welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.
Rabbi Chaim Brovender
Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions