This school is painting a new picture of the Orthodox women’s seminary. The Lea Rothstein Judaism & Arts Institute, located on the Ramot Shapira campus 15 minutes west of Jerusalem, will combine traditional religious studies with advanced training in fine and graphic arts, literature and music when it opens in September.
Many Orthodox girls following high school graduation spend a year at an Israeli seminary. While Israel has several seminaries — women’s versions of men’s open-ended yeshiva programs — and a few art schools, the Rothstein institute is the first to offer both, according to its dean.
Yerachmiel Munitz says the institute, Machon Ya’hadut v’Omanut in Hebrew, is designed to attract students ages 18-20, yeshiva high school graduates who previously “had to choose between Torah learning in Israel or continuation and development of her artistic talents in the United States or Canada.
“Quite a few people saw there is a need,” said Munitz, a veteran Israeli educator who was in New York recently interviewing prospective students.
He says the first class is expected to have about 30 students. Applicants must provide a portfolio demonstrating ability in a particular field in the arts.
Art classes will be conducted according to religious standards.
“No naked drawings. It will be a holy atmosphere,” he said.
The institute, named for the late wife of benefactor Max Rothstein, has advertised itself in U.S. girls’ yeshivas and in The Jewish Week. The unaffiliated school identifies with the religious Zionist movement, Munitz says.
Classes — in English and Hebrew — will include Torah, Jewish history and philosophy, as well as individualized instruction in the arts, in the school’s computer lab. Academic credits will be accepted by Israeli and American universities, and art classes will be taught in conjunction with Michelet Emunah.
Faculty members have wide experience in the arts, with backgrounds in the U.S. and Israel, Munitz said.
In addition to formal classes, there will be tours of the land, participation in chesed programs and Shabbat hospitality with local families.
The nonrefundable application fee is $100 until Feb. 1; after that it is $150. The year’s program costs $11,500, including tuition, room and board. Limited scholarship aid is available.
For information on the Rothstein institute, write to 1462 E. 27th St., Brooklyn, NY 11210, or call (718) 338-6537.