New Community Jewish High School recognizes the central role of the arts in a well-rounded general and Jewish education program. As a pluralistic school, we embrace the many lenses through which we may encounter, learn about, and create broad Jewish knowledge and experience. In addition to providing students the opportunity to experience new ideas, media and techniques, which are hallmarks of any good arts program, our Visual and Performing Arts Department advances a deeper sense of Jewish cultural literacy. By exposing students to our folk arts traditions, as well as the work of contemporary artists in all media and disciplines, we challenge students to consider Jewish themes, influences and text. Yet, as we introduce our students to Jewish arts and artists, we are mindful not to isolate ourselves from “world art” but rather to place our experience within a historical and global context. We are one people among many peoples— all with the human drive to create. Through this process, students can achieve a foundational knowledge that inspires them with a sense of cultural ownership and self-assurance, empowering them to be full participants in our cultural life and history.
Throughout their four years at New Community Jewish High School, students experience the arts as an integral part of their school life. Beginning in the ninth grade, all students participate in an arts rotation designed to introduce them to our Jewish arts curriculum. In subsequent years, students can choose from a range of arts electives, including advanced courses for our most serious students of the arts. The arts also invigorate the general academic curriculum. Arts faculty collaborate with their colleagues to develop integrated, experiential projects that enhance and deepen our students’ day-to-day-learning.
The Ninth Grade Arts Rotation is a unique initiative at New Community Jewish High School, designed to provide our youngest students with an introduction to the diversity of the Jewish tradition in the arts. The goals of this program are historical, cultural as well as textual-the lived life of the Jewish people through time, space and spirit. Students rotate through six distinct Jewish arts and culture classes, fulfilling their ninth grade Jewish Civilization (J-Civ) requirement. This exposure also enables students to make more informed choices for their year-long arts electives in the tenth grade (which continue to fulfill the J-Civ requirement as they are infused with Jewish content). The arts rotation offers the following classes: Instrumental Music, Israeli Dance, Media Arts, Singing, Visual Arts, and Yiddish.
To help guide our diverse and wide-ranging curriculum our faculty strives to address the following content areas:
- Historical – Students should have a sense of artistic continuity over time.
- Cultural – Students should have an understanding of the cultural influences and the
evolution of our folk arts and folkways.
- Narrative – Students should have opportunities to reference, interpret, analyze and finally
make art that takes influence from a variety of Jewish text – folktales – poetry – song lyrics – liturgy – Tanachic and other sacred texts and stories.
- Intercultural – Students should understand our cultural experience in relation to
- Master Practitioners & Techniques – Students should become familiar with Jewish
artists, as well as techniques, styles and methods that are traditionally Jewish
- Religious Practice – Students should understand the role of art in Jewish ritualistic settings.