Tzohar provides an environment where talented young women engage in profound Jewish learning and are empowered to express their thoughts and feelings through various artistic forms. By the end of the school year, students have discovered a unique perspective and developed skill set that will help them grow as individuals and as artists, as well as enable them to improve Jewish life throughout the world.
The Hebrew word “Tzohar” symbolizes goals of our program. In Genesis 6:16, that G-d asks Noah to build an ark and to include a “Tzohar”. The biblical commentator, Rashi, explains that “Tzohar” has two meanings: 1) a window or skylight to let light in; and, 2) a gem from which light shines outward. Tzohar Seminary is predicated on the ideal that by allowing the light of creativity into our students' lives, they will use their unique talents to make the world brighter and more beautiful.
Students leave their year at Tzohar Seminary with confidence in their unique talents and the desire to use those talents to make positive change. During the past eleven years, Tzohar graduates have gone on to study creative writing and journalism, film studies and animation, and have become professional photographers, artists and singer/songwriters. Our Tzohar students are in the forefront of a movement to make creative expression a vital part of Jewish communities everywhere.
Our Tzohar graduates also carry with them the sense that Jewish education needs to be improved, that it needs to embrace multiple pathways for students to relate to Jewish life. Many of our graduates are intent on becoming agents of change with a focus on enhancing all types of Jewish education.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH ARTISTS
(the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson)
Excerpt from a letter from 1951: "As you are surely aware, the primary talent of an artist is his ability to step away from the externalities of the thing and, disregarding its outer form, gaze into its innerness and perceive its essence, and to be able to convey this in his painting. Thus the object is revealed as it has never before been seen, since its inner content was obscured by secondary things. The artist exposes the essence of the thing he portrays, causing the one looking at the painting to perceive it in another, truer light, and to realize that his prior perception was deficient. And this is one of the foundations of man's service of his Creator."
Excerpt from a letter from 1968: "The point is that those who have been divinely gifted in art, whether sculpture or painting and the like, have the privilege of being able to convert an inanimate thing, such as a brush, paint and canvas, or wood and stone, etc., into living form. In a deeper sense, it is the ability to transform to a certain extent the material into spiritual, even where the creation is in still life, and certainly where the artistic work has to do with living creatures and humans. How much more so if the art medium is used to advance ideas, especially reflecting Torah and Mitzvot, which would raise the artistic skill to its highest level."