BUILDING JEWISH IDENTITY AND MEANING THROUGH CREATIVITY

A campaign to develop a “Judaism through the Arts” summer study program for Jewish women from college campuses across North America.

 

FUNDRAISING GOAL - $40,000

DEVELOPING A CREATIVE VOICE

Young women on campuses around North America -- thousands of Jewish students among them -- are searching for identity, meaning and purpose. Creative thinking and expression through the arts is a key to gaining self-understanding. Integrated with Jewish studies, artistic expression facilitates a deep connection to one's heritage by making learning experiential and personal. Tzohar helps Jewish students find their unique and creative voice in order to make a lasting contribution within their communities and in society at large.

 

WHO WE ARE 

Tzohar Seminary is a unique, educational program where Jewish women study Jewish texts in the morning and the arts in the afternoon. Tzohar students create works of art that explore and communicate meaningful spiritual ideas.


Why the name Tzohar? In Genesis 6:16, G-d asks Noah to build an ark and to include a “Tzohar”. The biblical commentator Rashi explains that the Hebrew word “Tzohar” means 1) a window or skylight to let light in; and, 2) a gem from which light shines outward. At Tzohar we are dedicated to the ideal that by allowing the divine gift of creativity to illuminate our lives, we can utilize our creative talents to make the world brighter and more beautiful.

 TCI: TZOHAR CAMPUS INITIATIVE

Imagine a place of bonding and learning where Jewish college students of all backgrounds can develop an authentic, deep, and personal connection with Judaism.  TCI is a groundbreaking program which provides young Jewish women the sacred space and time they need to make meaning of their experiences and studies and to unite with other Jewish students. By utilizing the arts as a vehicle of introspection and learning, Tzohar enables students to:

  • Experience Jewish life and learning in a meaningful and intellectually rigorous manner that is relevant to their personal questions, interests, and studies

  • Explore their Jewish heritage and identity in a non-judgmental setting

  • Connect to the land of Israel

  • Study the arts -- including fine arts, writing, dance, drama, film, music, dance, and photography -- with professional artists and professors

  • Strengthen their motivation, creativity, and skills to become the next generation of Jewish leaders

Thank you so much for your support! 

Together we can enrich the quality of Jewish education and life around the world.

BIOGRAPHIES: GET TO KNOW US

Rabbi Dovid Hordiner, MSEd- Director and Instructor, Tzohar Campus Initiative

Rabbi Dovid Hordiner has worked as an educator for the past twenty five years, most recently as Director of the Reggio-inspired Gan Yeladim Early Childhood Center in Stamford, CT and currently as the founder of Hordiner Consulting where he serves as an education consultant, workshop leader, and writer.

 

Rabbi Hordiner has a Masters Degree in Education from Bank Street College of Education, a Bachelor of Religious Studies Degree from the Rabbinical College of America, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Swarthmore College.

Rabbi Hordiner is a creative soul whose artistic talents include musical composition, poetry, and photography.  He was classically trained on piano from the age of six and on percussion from the age of eight.  He also enjoys playing acoustic guitar.  As a writer he published a thesis in 2010 entitled In the Beginning: A Jewish Perspective on Learning and Development in Early Childhood Education, authored ganyeladim.org, hordinerconsulting.com, and hordiner.com, and has written numerous education articles and developed curriculum tools used by Jewish educators around the world.

Mrs. Amy Guterson- Founder and Director, Tzohar Seminary

Tzohar Seminary reflects Amy’s vision to create a haven for young women who are creatively gifted; a place to study deep Jewish concepts intensively and train as artists who will use their G-d given gifts to bring light to the world. Mrs. Guterson knows full well that those who are blessed with talent need to create and give through those talents. She believes that creative expression and the creative process itself, is spiritual and G-dly.

Amy grew up in New York and received her BA from Stern College, Yeshiva University with a major in Theatre and a minor in Fine Arts. She went on to earn her graduate degree in acting from The New Actors Workshop where she studied with director Mike Nichols and improvisation specialist Paul Sills. She also studied with acclaimed actress and teacher Uta Hagen at the Berghof Studio in NY.  Amy was a member of Actor’s Equity, and performed in classical, Yiddish and Jewish theatre Off- Broadway.

After moving to Pittsburgh, Amy co-founded the Kol Isha Theatre group which consisted of Jewish women from across the spectrum of Judaism. As Artistic Director for the group, she taught acting and improvisation and directed play development for most of the group’s original productions and workshops (based on issues of Jewish womanhood and Jewish unity/disunity). Mrs. Guterson wrote, directed and produced the award winning film “Becoming Rachel”, which premiered at the Pittsburgh Jewish/Israeli Film Festival and was screened at festivals across the country and Israel, where it won first prize. For 23 years, she has been a member of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre , a therapeutic form of theatre which “plays back” its audience’s stories and feelings through improvisation. She has conceived , directed and edited many creative, narrative videos , as well as taught acting and directed numerous theatrical productions for Jewish Day schools. She is a board member for ATARA- the Arts and Torah Association for Religious Artists, and has taught master acting and play development classes at their conferences.

Aside from theatre and film, Amy has studied fine arts, dance, voice, playwriting and screenwriting. Understanding the path of the talented, creative, young woman devoted to living a life of strong Jewish identity, Mrs. Guterson nurtures each student, helping her to grow as an artist , a Jewish woman and as an unique individual ready to make her contribution to the world.

 

Rabbi Aaron Herman- Director of Education, Tzohar Seminary

Rabbi Aaron Herman has been involved in educating Jewish children, teens and adults for over twenty years. As Director of Education since the inception of Tzohar Seminary, Rabbi Herman has shaped the Judaic component of the program, serving both as a popular instructor, and as the primary architect of the Judaic curriculum. Rabbi Herman takes complex ideas and conveys them in a way that provides clarity and insight. He has developed many original classes and has been proficient in demonstrating how the study of Torah is relevant to teens and young adults.

 

Prior to joining the staff of Tzohar Seminary, Rabbi Herman held the position of Head of School of Jewish Academy in Raleigh, NC, and served as an Adjunct Professor of Religion at Meredith College. Rabbi Herman was also deeply involved in the Federation- sponsored, Melton Adult Mini-School in Raleigh, NC and continued to teach in the local Melton Adult Mini-School after relocating to Pittsburgh, PA.

 

Rabbi Herman serves as an author for the Jewish Learning Institute. Over 10,000 adult learners appreciated the course that Rabbi Herman authored on Israel entitled, The Land and the Spirit. A Holocaust course that Rabbi Herman designed, Beyond Never Again, has also received much acclaim from within the academic and general community. Most recently, Rabbi Herman authored a course on modern Jewish history, "A Jew in the Free World". Rabbi Herman has also served as an author for the Jewish Learning Institute's teen division, writing curricula on Israel, Jewish identity and on Jewish wisdom for modern relationships.  

 

Rabbi Herman's involvement in Tzohar Seminary has provided first-hand experience that Jewish education can be most successful when it provides students with the opportunity to study deep Jewish ideas and express them in creative and artistic ways. By bringing Tzohar's methodology to a wider audience, Rabbi Herman believes that Jewish learning can become more relevant to young adults throughout the world and help them build a stronger Jewish identity.

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