Topic: Ma’ale School of Television, Film, and the Arts
Masthead for Ma’ale School of Television, Film, and the Arts
Founded in 1989, "Ma'ale is a unique training institution in the Jewish world, establishing a completely new relationship between the religious public and the visual media. It was founded in 1989 with the goal of training film and television professionals deeply rooted in the Jewish faith. By promoting Jewish religious film production, the school has taken on the task on the one hand of establishing visual media in the religious community; on the other hand it attempts to break down clichés in the perception of religious Jews by secular Israelis by bringing into the visual media—and thus into general consciousness—areas of religious life not often discussed in public. The school understands itself as an institution building bridges on the one hand between religious Jews and their heritage, [and] on the other hand between the religious and the secular worlds."
Ma'ale's Institute of Torah and Creative Endeavor opened in 2000, with the goal of providing "a framework for rabbis, senior educators and television professionals to collaborate on re-expressing Jewish sources in visual language, analyzing Jewish source texts that deal with the arts, creative endeavor, aesthetics, imagination and similar topics. The objective of the institute is to present visual media to the leaders and educators of the religious-nationalist community, exposing them to its commanding influence on the shaping of Israeli society in general and the religious sector in particular." Subjects for discussion have included: Haredi Soap Opera versus the Orthodox Family Drama; Films as Forgers of Universal Opinion; and New Religious Music.
David C. Jackobson, in his recent article on Ma'ale, writes:
"In 1989, the Ma’ale School of Television, Film, and the Arts was founded in Jerusalem with the primary purpose of providing religiously observant Jews with the opportunity to receive the appropriate training that would prepare them to become engaged in the world of Israeli ﬁlm and television production in a manner that is informed by the spirit of religious Zionism. Until now the school has received little scholarly attention, and it still maintains a relatively low proﬁle in Israeli society as a whole."
He identifies three main reasons why Ma'ale merits serious attention:
"(1) The establishment of Ma’ale has constituted an important new stage in the development of the relationship of religious Zionists to modernity in general and to the secular majority culture in Israel in particular.
(2) The school represents the ﬁrst sustained attempt to arrive at a synthesis between traditional Jewish values and the relatively new visually-oriented ﬁeld of media production, thereby raising important questions about the relationship between Judaism and the visual arts in general and ﬁlm and television production in particular.
(3) The ﬁlms produced at Ma’ale as graduate projects attempt to explore issues of Jewish religiosity in ways that had been largely absent from the history of Israeli ﬁlm and television production until the founding of the school, thereby suggesting the potential for the emergence of religiously-oriented trends in the world of Israeli media in the future."
From: David C. Jackobson. 2004. The Ma'ale School: Catalyst for the entrance of religious Zionists into the world of media production." Israel Studies 9, 1: 31-60.
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