Covenant Foundation Awards YU Museum Grant for Educational Partnership with Lincoln Center Institute 

On the basis of an innovative arts-based educational program, Yeshiva University Museum is the recipient of a prestigious Signature Grant from The Covenant Foundation, which develops and supports Jewish education and community-building projects and programs in the U.S.

Yeshiva University Museum will receive $135,900 over three years to expand Re-Imagining Jewish Education through Art, an initiative that uses the arts and critical inquiry to enhance and deepen learning and appreciation of Jewish texts and of art.

Through the program, the museum adapts an arts-based educational approach and philosophy pioneered by the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, and re-conceives and applies it in Jewish schools. Re-Imagining is designed to be multi-dimensional: it enriches learning of traditional Jewish texts and allows for appreciation of their beauty and aesthetic character, and, at the same, encourages the use of textual approaches—careful reading and analysis, reverence and spiritual value, historical context and awareness—to develop and deepen an appreciation of art.

The museum will partner with LCI to train teachers and educators in the approach, and will run the program in Jewish day schools across the denominational spectrum in and outside of New York. The grant enables further development of the museum-school partnerships and is aimed toward enriching the culture of text study and of arts-based learning on a national level.

Re-Imagining was launched in 2010-11 as a pilot program through an Ignition Grant from the Covenant Foundation. The YU Museum, which implemented the program in three Jewish High Schools—Heschel High School, SAR High School and Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys, and one youth education group, Kings Bay YM-YWHA—will expand the initiative to partner with at least six Jewish Day Schools – middle and high schools – and, in the second year, will work with at least one school outside the New York area.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue and expand this program,” said Dr. Jacob Wisse, director of Yeshiva University Museum, “and grateful to the Covenant Foundation for making it possible and for being so supportive of the role of museums in strengthening Jewish education through the arts and enriching the learning experience of students.”

Yeshiva University Museum is dedicated to the presentation and interpretation of the artistic and cultural achievements of Jewish life. Founded in 1973, the museum is distinguished by its wide-ranging and intellectually rigorous exhibitions and, as the cultural arm of Yeshiva University, by its strong educational mission.

The Lincoln Center Institute trains educators within selected schools in “creative aesthetic education,” an acclaimed teaching methodology it created. Yeshiva University Museum is adapting the Institute’s model to teach Jewish texts in Jewish educational settings. The museum’s team instructs educators on the new approach as well.

Re-Imagining Jewish Education through Art will be led by Gabriel Goldstein, project director and an independent curator, and Ilana Benson, museum educator at Yeshiva University Museum. According to Benson, the program enables educators to implement a new approach that honors the aesthetic power and beauty of traditional Jewish texts.

“We are enthusiastic about this new grant to Yeshiva University Museum, with its focus on Jewish education and its strong public programming, exhibitions and partnerships with schools and other educational institutions,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, executive director of The Covenant Foundation. “We look forward to seeing this unique initiative with Lincoln Center Institute develop and grow, and present an exciting new model of arts-based Jewish education.”

This spring, Yeshiva University Museum will announce the schools with which they will be partnering during the first academic year of their Re-Imagining Jewish Education through Art in 2013-14.