BIMA offers three core areas of artistic study: music
(jazz/ chamber/choral), painting or creative writing. The program includes intensive time
each day during which participants focus on the arts discipline of their
choice. Participants have the opportunity to develop techniques, hone
skills, enhance their ability to express themselves in their chosen
medium, and collaborate artistically with other participants. In
addition, participants choose from a range of elective offerings. In
the time allocated for electives, participants explore new concepts,
engage in another medium, or create artistic collaborations.
The entire BIMA community comes together regularly for Jewish text
study and experiential learning. Participants explore texts and
cultural resources that provide a window into Jewish perspectives
on themes such as beauty and creativity. BIMA serves strictly kosher
food, offers daily prayer options, and creates weekly communal Shabbat
Daily athletic activities are offered as well as weekly outdoor
expeditions to recreational areas for hiking, boating and swimming.
BIMA, the Berkshire Institute for Music and Arts, is a summer arts
program for Jewish teenagers. Our mission is to guide students as
they develop their imaginative and artistic faculties and explore
the relevance of Jewish tradition to students’ lives. BIMA
is committed to the value of a serious and dynamic encounter between
artistic expression and Jewish life. We aspire to serve as both
a nurturing community and a creative catalyst for this interaction.
BIMA cultivates a vibrant, pluralistic environment for participants
to hone their artistic skills, to deepen their Jewish knowledge,
and to ask questions about the intersection of their identity as
Jews and young people committed to pursuing the arts.
BIMA also encourages Jewish teenagers to see themselves as active
participants in a vital Jewish culture, and promotes a reinvigoration
of creative expression and artistic imagination within Jewish religious
and communal life.
We are guided in this endeavor by three central commitments:
- Artistic Expression
BIMA takes seriously the growth and education of young artists.
Focusing on music, painting, and creative writing, the
BIMA program emphasizes artistic expression, self-reflection and
collaboration. Located at Williams College in Williamstown, MA,
BIMA takes advantage of the rich cultural offerings of the Berkshires
region, exposing participants to the highest levels of artistic
achievement in contemporary American life.
- Jewish Learning
Jewish creativity depends upon Jewish educationeducation
that challenges the mind and speaks to the heart. The BIMA program
includes a range of opportunities for Jewish learning that is
substantive, passionate, and engaging. BIMA explores the arts
as a significant arena for dialogue and interaction between Israeli
and Diaspora Jewish culture.
We believe that interaction among Jews of diverse backgrounds
enhances Jewish continuity and creativity, and that exchanges
among artists of different disciplines enrich artistic growth.
Our approach to both Jewish and artistic education at BIMA is
pluralistic, with an emphasis placed on the dignity of individual
identity and expression, a discourse of mutual sensitivity and
respect, and a spirit of openness and friendship within a diverse
BIMA is being developed through a collaborative partnership between
Gann AcademyThe New Jewish
High School of Greater Boston and the Bronfman
Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI).
Gann AcademyThe New Jewish High School, founded in 1997,
has an international reputation as an innovator of Jewish pluralistic
high school education. Since its inception, it has had a strong
commitment to arts education and the integral role of the arts in
the overall school curriculum.
BYFI has been a premier educational program for Jewish high school
students for the past eighteen years. A five and a half week program
in Israel, with an active and extensive Jewish community, BYFI has
fostered a new generation of Jewish leaders committed to understanding
the complex issues facing the Jewish people and Israel, Jewish pluralism,
dialogue, and text study. BYFI alumni and educators work together
with lay and professional leaders from the Gann Academy to shape
BIMA’s vision, mission, and educational philosophy.
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