by Yishai Ashkenazi
After watching an episode of the Israeli hit television show, The Voice, I was fascinated by the young musicians in Israel and over the world who had graced the stage. I sat pondering the question, what is it that drives today’s musicians and artists to pursue such a path? Is it the trend of appearing on a reality television show that motivates their musicianship? Certainly coming to school the day after your audition broadcasts is fun… Is it an underlying desire for fame and glamour that ignites their artistry? Sure, a moment in the spotlight of pop-culture is thrilling, but is that all? Or could it be that a more authentic passion to develop oneself into an actualized artist is burning from within?
I realized that whether or not the goal of these young performers is to find themselves strewn across the screens of the new world of celebrity, something deeper is surfacing. The youth is yearning to reveal their potential, to expose their inner melodies, to dance their life stories into exuberant performances.
We at A.M.I. believe that we have tuned into this wave of yearning. And so we have got some exciting news to share with you…. Beginning this week, half a dozen visiting students from the acclaimed, Rubin Academy of Music & Dance, will be joining us for a half-semester-long course. The visiting students will serve as moderators and teachers for our youth. They will also aim to incorporate soulful Jewish themes into the music and artistic expression in order to further delve into their internal wellsprings of creativity. This course was made possible thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor.
This course is a part of our Young Artists Fellowship. The Fellowship program offers young artists a variety of structured opportunities to develop their skills, the forum in which to express their art and music through a Jewish lens, and the tools to enter into the industry… without having to audition for The Voice… unless they want to, of course!
The Young Artists Fellowship not only began in response to the yearning of our youth to develop their talents, but also to help guide them through the challenges of securing financial stability in the field. Today’s struggle to succeed financially as a new artist is real, and so the necessity to provide real practical advice and expertise was deemed essential. Therefore, the Fellowship program provides the chance to learn from experts and professionals in the fields of music and fine arts. It is our hope that the youth will take what they learn in the program and apply it to building their future careers.
Moreover, after completing the Fellowship, the young artists will be joining A.M.I. as staff members. As such, they are taught how to deliver high quality, innovative workshops to Israeli youth around the country… and help others like them expose their own inner melodies and moves!
In the past year alone, approximately 3,000 Israeli youth have participated in or benefited from the A.M.I. programs. These youth have reported that they are grateful for the unique opportunity to express themselves and learn about Jewish holidays and heritage through art and music. We are so proud to provide this opportunity for them.
A.M.I. works in partnership with the Ministry of Education, pre-army training programs in Israel, and various youth-at-risk projects.
Yishai Ashkenazi is Executive Director of A.M.I.
A.M.I., or Artists and Musicians for Israel, is a project founded by musician and educator Yehudah Katz, with the mission to strengthen Jewish Identity among young adults ages 13-18 through music and art.