Most schools, yeshivas and seminaries conclude a semester with written tests. At Tzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts in Pittsburgh, the end of first semester means presentation time.
On Tuesday evening, January 14, the students of Tzohar Seminary presented “Chassidus, Art & Identity,” a presentation of paintings, poetry, dance, music, storytelling and films about the Chassidic concepts that spoke to them strongly.
Tzohar’s 18 students, from Australia, England, Israel and across the USA each chose something they had studied in Chassidus they connected with personally, and expressed it through an art form of their choice.
“Boxed out”, a painting of vines and flowers escaping a box by Esther Adler, depicted the concept that “Everyone has a box. People tend to feel trapped and crushed from it. They think that if they completely break out of it, freedom will be reached… The box is the body, which is finite, and it boxes in the soul which is infinite. But, without the body to give it focus and direction, the soul is ineffective.”
Another painting depicts a grandmother and grandchild by Sara Teller, representing “our constant reoccurring choices,” explains Teller. “Every moment we make decisions that steer and alter our world in a certain way. This grandmother, in every moment, is choosing to recreate this relationship with her grandchild by being open and receptive to his love and wonder.”
Another, more abstract painting by Rosie Krinsky, depicts how “G-d created the world through the masculine and feminine aspects of Himself and then contracted it and created physicality. It’s also all connected. They are seemingly all different and random things but they are connected showing that we are all connected and linked to each other and G-d,” she explains.
A painting of a girl in house that is seemingly too small for her by Chana Corna is about the exile in Egypt, which can be related to our own lives every day. “We all have our own Mitzrayims – the limitations we believe we possess, which keep us from pursuing G-d in all we do…It is the moment when we realize that, it is time to set ourselves free.”
The Tzohar vocal ensemble performed a beautiful acapella version of Tzama Lecha Nafshi, as well as contemporary Jewish selections.
VIDEO: Stop motion animation reflecting Hashem sending His essence down to create our world by Rivkah Joseph
VIDEO: Infinite Choices by Rochel Duato, about decision making and being aware of the right choices
Tzohar is a groundbreaking post high school seminary for young women that combines study of Torah and Chassidus with a full program of arts study. Along with Chumash, Halacha, Hashkafa, Tanya, Maamorim, Sichos, and Parsha, students take classes in creative writing, play and screenwriting, visual art, music, dance, theatre, filmmaking and photography.
To learn more about Tzohar Seminary visit the website at www.tzoharseminary.com