To encourage greater haredi participation in the labor market, Jerusalem Mayor
Nir Barkat announced plans on Tuesday for a wing at the Bezalel Academy of Arts
and Design that will cater exclusively to the Orthodox sector.
for completion in 2017, the sprawling $100 million, 37,000-square-meter complex
will be located in the Russian Compound, between the Holy Trinity Cathedral and
the Museum of Underground Prisoners.
The Jerusalem Municipality and the
academy selected the site.
The plans to add the haredi wing are going on
in coordination with the Oman School of Art, which the municipality established
in the capital in 1992 and which is the country’s only art school serving the
The curriculum of the new department will be adapted
to suit the lifestyle of the ultra-Orthodox sector and enable its members to
study trends in architecture and art, Barkat said.
“Our initiative with
Bezalel is another breakthrough to create institutions that will aid the haredi
sector in joining the labor market,” the mayor declared in a
“Establishing an Orthodox branch [at the academy] will
maximize the professional potential of haredi students and meet the needs of all
Barkat announced the plans at a Jerusalem press conference
Tuesday. In attendance were Bezalel president Prof. Eva Illouz; Yossi Sharabi,
director of the municipality’s Administration for Culture, Social and Leisure
Activities; and Rabbi Gabriel Stauber, the municipality’s director of religious
The mayor noted that cooperation between the Oman School of Art
and Bezalel would increase the number of Orthodox students able to study art in
a professional setting.
“Jerusalem continues to lead the country by
having the largest concentration of art schools, and now we are expanding to
include the haredi sector,” he said.
In April, the Hebrew University’s
secular student leaders launched a student- led pilot program called Yotzim
Lilmod (“going out to study”) to assist former ultra-Orthodox men and women at
the university in acclimating to college life, both academically and
The program matches 10 trained student tutors with 10
formerly haredi students, all of whom became secular within the past several
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