Jerusalem's Bezalel arts school to open new ultra-Orthodox track
Council for Higher Education approves proposal to open branch for Haredim; classes to begin this September.
The Council for Higher Education has approved a plan by Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design to open a new branch catering to the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) public.
Bezalel submitted the proposal in conjunction with the Oman School of Art, a Haredi arts academy. The new branch will open a preparatory program in September, and in another two years, students will be able to begin degree courses in architecture and fine arts.
"All the courses will be given by lecturers from the academy, or others approved by it," a Bezalel spokesman said. Eli Petel, head of the school's fine arts department, added that the list of teachers hasn't yet been finalized, but he personally views the project as "exciting and hopeful."
Asked whether he thinks this project can serve as a bridge between Haredim and the secular public, he said the venture is still in its infancy but could potentially do so, since its goal is to create something both communities will have in common.
The Oman School of Art, located in Jerusalem's Romema neighborhood, was founded by the Jerusalem municipality about a decade ago. It is the only school in Israel that offers college-level arts studies in a strictly Haredi environment. It has programs in the plastic arts, photography, metalworking and ceramics, but men and women study in different classes, nude models are not permitted and the library doesn't include books whose content Haredim would consider contrary to Jewish law.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat termed the venture "another breakthrough in integrating the Haredi public into institutes of higher education and the job market."