TEACHING JEWISH TRADITION AND VALUES THROUGH
A special course for Russian-speaking educators from both Israel and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was held in Jerusalem from July 5-26, 1999. Given in joint cooperation between the Center and the Jewish University in St. Petersburg, the program, Teaching Jewish Tradition and Values Through Jewish Art, is part of an eight-year ongoing project of Jewish art education for teachers, curators, students and Jewish community leaders in the former Soviet Union. Due to its original success in the summer of 1997, this specific course is to be given in Jerusalem biennially.
Of the forty educators and artists participating in the Seminar, twenty-one were from the CIS, eighteen were new Israeli immigrants from the CIS and one Russian-speaking teacher was from Berlin.
Set within the context of the broad diversity of Jewish communities in Israel today, this years seminar was devoted to the study of the Exodus from Egypt, with special focus on the Passover Haggadah. The course culminated in a model Passover seder, with all the trimmings, which was for some their very first experience of this celebration.
Supplementing the many lectures by experts from Israel and abroad in the fields of Jewish art, thought and the Bible, were educational and artists workshops. Participants also had guided tours to museums and synagogues in and around Jerusalem, as well as a synagogue tour of the Galilee and Golan.
Since many of the participants were accomplished artists, an exhibition of works by the artists and their students was held from July 18-25 at the Jerusalem Municipality.
Response to the course was so enthusiastic that the participants resolved to conduct regional seminars on subjects of Jewish art and tradition in a variety of locations: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, different locations in Israel, as well as in Germany, where there is a large Russian-speaking population.