Gateway to the Soul: Arts in Education

"We need a new kind of creativity in the classroom that’s going to reach Jewish kids… If a teacher is imaginative, he or she is going to connect to students’ hearts and souls.”

Dr. Arnold Eisen has served as Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America since 2006, and has been a Board Member of The Covenant Foundation since 1999. In addition, he is one of the leading scholars in the field of Modern Jewish Thought. Prior to becoming Chancellor of JTS, Dr. Eisen was the Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University.

Dr. Eisen has long had a deep personal and professional interest in the arts and their ability to transform people’s understanding of and relationship to Jewish life and culture. He recently spoke with The Covenant Foundation about the initiatives JTS has launched over the past few years to integrate art and music into all aspects of JTS’s educational programs and leadership training. These initiatives include the following: art galleries in the hallways, poetry in the classrooms, and joint concerts between JTS Cantorial students and Juilliard jazz musicians. Dr. Eisen also shared his personal connections to art, as well as his vision for how arts education can help shift the focus of Jewish institutions from “educating Jews” to “educating Jewish human beings.”

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