SOULWORK:

TRANSFORMING JEWISH EDUCATION THROUGH CREATIVITY AND ART

A fundraising campaign to develop a “Judaism through the Arts” accredited teacher training program and curriculum to benefit Jewish schools and children across North America.

 

FUNDRAISING GOAL - $80,000

THE CHALLENGE AND THE OPPORTUNITY

So many children are blessed with creativity and artistic talent. Finding and expressing their creative voice is an integral part of an authentic Jewish experience that enables them to make a unique contribution to the world. Developing a child’s Jewish identity in this way takes time, attention, and support. How will Jewish schools today meet this need? How can Jewish education nurture creative expression as a means to strengthening Jewish identity?  

 

OUR RESPONSE (“JUDAISM THROUGH THE ARTS”) 

Local Initiative: Tzohar Seminary is developing an accredited education program that will train student teachers how to foster creative expression inside the classroom. Tzohar students will take coursework -- in conjunction with a local university in Pittsburgh and during a semester abroad in Israel -- leading toward an undergraduate degree in Jewish Education and the Arts.

   

National Initiative: Tzohar’s teacher training program will concurrently develop a curriculum and arts integration training program for Jewish educators and schools across North America. Participating educators will learn the theory and skills needed to empower children to integrate creativity into their Jewish studies, with the ultimate goal of strengthening each child’s personal connection with G-d and their Jewish heritage.

 

WHO WE ARE 

Tzohar Seminary is a unique, two-year educational program where young Jewish women study Jewish texts in the morning and the arts in the afternoon. Tzohar students create works of art -- in filmmaking, theatre, creative writing, music, dance, photography, animation, and fine arts -- 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.

DONATE HERE 

Please consider partnering with us to help enrich the quality of Jewish education.

Thank you so much for your support!

FUNDRAISING GOAL - $80,000

BIOGRAPHIES: GET TO KNOW US

Rabbi Dovid Hordiner, MSEd- Director and Instructor, Tzohar Teacher Training Program

Rabbi Dovid Hordiner has worked as an educator for over twenty years. He is the founder of Hordiner Consulting where he supports administrators, leads professional development workshops for teachers, and develops curriculum. For ten years Rabbi Hordiner and his wife, Nechama, served as shluchim in Stamford, CT. There he held the position of Director at the JECEI-awarded Gan Yeladim Early Childhood Center, taught weekly classes in Chassidus, and led a unique parenting program for fathers that has been adopted by other Chabad Houses (Fathers First).

 

Rabbi Hordiner holds a Dual Masters Degree from Bank Street College of Education in Early Childhood General and Special Education and in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention. He is also a graduate of the Rabbinical College of America and Swarthmore College. Rabbi Hordiner has a particular interest in exploring the authentic intersection of Chassidus, psychology, and education. He approaches teaching from the perspective of intentional practice and views curriculum as an expression and expansion of the connection between a student and an idea.  

Rabbi Hordiner is a creative soul whose artistic talents include musical composition, writing, and photography. He was classically trained on piano from the age of six, percussion from the age of eight, and he dabbles in acoustic guitar. Rabbi Hordiner writes about education on his website hordinerconsulting.com and has authored articles and developed curricular tools used by Jewish educators around the country. He also enjoys writing poetry and taking photographs.

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.

Back to top