Arts education, Jewish texts, and creation—in combination, these areas can have a powerful influence on students’ growth and development. Social innovators in arts education seek to explore how to capitalize on the intersection between these fields and mobilize teachers to integrate arts into Jewish education.
Arielle Doochin Washington, D.C., 25
ARTurn is an exciting online art curriculum for students in Sunday, elementary, and middle schools, providing affordable and creative art lessons that can be used in any classroom. Inspiration to innovate: The positive role models in my life helped me realize that there are many issues in this world that need to be addressed. If no one stands up to make change, these issues will not be resolved. Who she relates to: I relate to my ancestors and relatives who emigrated from Europe with very few resources, but were able to create something sustainable. My great-grandfather left Russia after the pogroms but had the motivation, drive and passion to take a risk on a fruit stand that would later empower future generations.
Elyssa Moss Rabinowitz, Jerusalem, 33, and Matt Berkowitz, Jerusalem, 37
Kol HaOt presents Jewish texts, ideas, values, and history through a creative, aesthetic, and sensory lens; via a Visual Beit Midrash, unique tourist experiences and a virtual community.
Biggest Challenge (Matt): Creating authentic, genuine artistic pieces that are substantially rooted in Jewish texts. I think the biggest challenge is the paradigm shift that needs to take place. We want to expand people’s range of experience, so that when they think of Jewish art, they think of more than just Judaica objects like a Kiddush cup or havdalah set.
Vision for the future of PT (Matt): PresenTense should have hubs and institutes in more cities, like Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.
Vision for project one year from now (Elyssa): We will have created and executed tourist experiences for about 12 different groups, launched the virtual community and website, and be prepared to open the Visual Beit Midrash—our physical center in Jerusalem—where educators, artists, laypeople, and tourists can be surrounded by texts, art, and learning while participating in workshops, experiences, performances and seminars.
Person she relates to in Jewish history (Elyssa): Saadiah Gaon, a 10th-century Babylonian, great Torah scholar, musician, poet, and scientist. He recognized the issues and struggles facing the Jewish people of his time and created shifts in thinking that are still relevant today.