Tzohar students study Jewish texts during the morning hours, and in the afternoon they are immersed in a complete arts experience. This includes creative writing, play and screenwriting, theatre, filmmaking, art, photography, music, dance and animation. As they are studying the craft of each art, students are encouraged to explore profound psychological and spiritual concepts in their Jewish studies. Their discoveries find satisfying expression in the creation of art based on the ideas that they have found most meaningful to them.
The first semester's art presentation focuses on identity and allows each student to develop herself as an individual, as an artist and as a Jewish woman. Later in the year, students create collaborative work such as theatre pieces and film, that reflect a pooling of their creative talents and resources. The students learn how to work together as creative artists, communicating a larger Jewish vision to the world.
Each week, students volunteer their time at the local Jewish day schools where arts education is sorely lacking. Students teach art, music, drama, dance and creative writing to younger students.
Click below to hear Mrs. Amy Guterson's podcast interview with Elad Nehorai of Hevria.com about how Tzohar was started, how she found out that spirituality and the arts work together to make us better people, and how the Hasidic world is starting to embrace the arts, all in this powerful episode.
Arts Installation – “Chassidus, Art, and Identity”
Toward the end of the first semester, students choose a concept in Chassidus that they’ve learned and identify with personally, and express it through an art form of their choice. This enables each student to hear her own voice, develop her sense of self, and share her thoughts with an audience.
Learning skills from professional filmmakers in our community, students collectively create a short video- from conception, to writing, pre-production, shooting, editing, post production, and marketing.
The students create their own meaningful production for a wider female audience. They study and perform duties in playwriting, acting, directing, stage management, producing, marketing, set design, lighting design, and costume design. They gain hands on experience from working with community and local artists, who mentor and guide them.
Collaborative Group Presentation
Students perform and present a culminating collaborative “graduation” project, in which they use the individual artistic skills that have been developed over the year, as well as the group skills. The ability of the girls to express deep Chassidic concepts through different art forms becomes a testament to their depth and understanding of the material as well as their G-d given talents, which they have developed and utilized for this purpose. They not only assimilate the information into their lives but are then able to communicate it in an artistic and universal way.
Individual Artistic Study
Although Tzohar students begin the year studying all of the arts that we have to offer, in the second half of the year they may begin to develop an area of focus. This art may be further developed through apprenticeships with local artists. Mentors are available in visual arts, music, dance, writing, theater and and filmmaking. In addition, students may take individual lessons in any instrument, or voice, for an additional fee.
Visiting Educators and Artists
Students have classes and workshops with special visitors throughout the year. Teachers who have special insights through Chassidus into the arts and creativity, Jewish storytellers, writers, musicians, directors and performers especially connected to their Yiddishkeit and who express kedusha themes through their work, are brought in as living examples to the students during their course of study.
Outreach and Community Involvement
Tzohar students volunteer at Yeshiva Girls School by teaching Parsha Through the Arts in grades 3 through 8. Our students teach choir, creative writing, movement, drama, and art. In addition, they are available to assist the schools with productions and special creative events. Our students also volunteer their time and talents for the seniors of our community, and are available to help at the local Chabad Hebrew schools, Friendship Circle, and Yeshiva School’s annual dinner.