Artists and Musicians for Israel

AMI-Neshima is a unique initiative of artists and educators who are harnessing the power of art and music to foster vibrant, pluralistic Jewish identity among Israelis aged 15-25. Based in Jerusalem, we mentor young Jerusalem artists and create opportunities for dynamic connection for young people.
Location: Jerusalem
Year founded: 2006

Description

Who are we?

Launched in 2006, Artists and Musicians for Israel (AMI) - Neshima is a unique initiative of artists and educators who are harnessing the power of art and music to foster vibrant, pluralistic Jewish identity and community among Israeli youth and young adults. 

AMI-Neshima is based in Jerusalem and is actively contributing to revitalizing the city’s cultural community.   

AMI-Neshima meets youth and young adults where they are, including:

  • Schools: Through experiential classroom workshops, Israeli teens experience Judaism as a personal force that is deeply relevant to their lives.  Workshops spark participants' curiosity and desire to learn more about Judaism.  Workshops include lyric writing, composition, drawing and drama.  For many participants, their AMI-Neshima workshop provides their first personal connection to Jewish tradition.  In the current school year AMI-Neshima has reached over 10,000 students in 40 schools. 
  • Pre-Army Leadership (Mechina) programs: This year AMI-Neshima will reach over 600 future leaders through creative workshops that engage their hearts and minds.
  • Residential facilities for High-Risk Youth: Through ten Rashi Foundation "warm houses" and three Youth Villages, this year AMI-Neshima will touch the lives of over 400 high risk youth. 
  • Community Venues: This year AMI-Neshima held 20 major community events – 15 of them in Jerusalem – that exposed over 10,000 young people to our pluralistic, dynamic, and fun vision of Jewish and Israeli culture.
  • Jerusalem Artists Fellowship: For three years AMI-Neshima’s fellowship has cultivated and mentored dozens of young Jerusalem artists to help them develop into community leaders while realizing their artistic visions.

To strengthen our work with students and young adults, each year AMI-Neshima provides in-depth training to over 400 teachers and principals in the theory and practice of using music and art as pedagogical tools for conveying both knowledge of and a connection to Jewish tradition. 

What are we passionate about?

AMI-Neshima is passionate about using the arts to connect Jewish Israeli youth and young adults to the power and possibility of the many faces of Jewish and Israeli traditions, history, and culture. 

AMI-Neshima is passionate about Jerusalem!  We are based in Jerusalem, most of our work takes place in Jerusalem, and our staff embodies the religious and cultural diversity of Jewish Jerusalem.  We are working to counter the negative migration of young people from the city by cultivating community that will meet their cultural, intellectual, and spiritual needs.  At the same time, we are launching an ambitious new initiative – SoBar - that will create a safe, compelling space where young people can gather, grow, and exchange ideas.   

AMI-Neshima is passionate about cultivating the next generation of Jerusalem artists, providing them with inspiration, mentoring and training to build sustainable career paths that will ensure that they remain in Jerusalem, and continue to grow as artists.  Today many young Jerusalem artists struggle to support themselves while finding venues in which to share their talents with the broader community.  We want to help them fulfill their artistic visions in Jerusalem.  

What are we looking for in a grant opportunity?

AMI-Neshima is looking for partners who share our passion for the arts and culture, and who believe in their power to build and transform hearts, minds, and communities. 

Our two priority areas are:

1)  SoBar: AMI-Neshima is seeking support for an ambitious new initiative to bring new vitality and possibility to downtown Jerusalem.  SoBar (a sober bar) will provide a safe, engaging space in which young people can come together, and where Jerusalem’s young musical and artistic talent will find a venue in which to develop their crafts.  

2)  Organizational support: To strengthen the core from which all of our multifaceted activities spring. 


AMI-Neshima SoBar Program

About

AMI-Neshima’s new
SoBar Center will be a safe and inspiring educational and entertainment venue
in downtown Jerusalem for Jerusalem teens and young adults.  SoBar will provide a space where participants
can focus their creative energies in positive and productive ways through
learning, creating and performing music and art. 


At the same
time, SoBar will provide young Jerusalem artists and musicians with a venue through
which to hone and develop their artistic talents.  Through AMI-Neshima's
Young Artists Fellowship program, a select group of these young musicians and
artists will benefit from extensive mentoring and training to help them gain
the skills, knowledge, and savvy to find their artistic voice and develop
viable careers for themselves.  These
Fellows will in turn work with SoBar’s young clientele, providing artistic
workshops and modeling healthy young adult behavior.  Thus AMI-Neshima will be providing practical
incentive and assistance to Jerusalem's most talented young people to stay in
Jerusalem and contribute to a uniquely Jerusalem culture.



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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

AMI-Neshima
will renovate a neglected space in downtown Jerusalem – across from city hall –
and create a unique, safe performance, workshop, gathering, and empowering
space for young Jerusalem residents. 
SoBar will target Jerusalemites aged 16-25, and will provide a clean and
sober alternative to the downtown bar/club scene.


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Program Description

SoBar will
provide the ideal location for teens and young adults to find the excitement
they are seeking without the risks associated with the downtown bar and street
scene. SoBar will provide a clean and sober music space where young Jerusalemites
can learn, create, listen to and perform music, and support each other in their
creative endeavors.  At SoBar young
people will encounter a supportive environment, with workshops to promote their
self-esteem and self-confidence and help them develop invaluable life
skills. 

SoBar will
operate day and night programs:

1) Day:
Workshops in the arts, music, movement, body awareness, and self-empowerment.

2) Night: As a
clean and sober drop in center and performance/jamming space.  SoBar will hold community concerts at least
twice a week.

SoBar will be
staffed by AMI-Neshima’s experienced staff of artists and educators, Fellows,
and social service professionals with expertise in working with youth and young
adults at risk.  Sobar will also
collaborate with other centers for high risk youth regarding referrals and
additional therapeutic assistance when needed.

In recognition
of the importance of parental involvement, AMI-Neshima will reach out to
parents, providing counseling and support groups for parents who are struggling
with their children.


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Demonstrated Need

AMI-Neshima’s
SoBar will address two primary needs:

One: In
recent years, teens and young adults have increasingly migrated to downtown
Jerusalem, looking for social interaction and entertainment.  All too often they become involved in
unhealthy, dangerous behaviors, including drug and alcohol abuse, criminal
activity, and unsafe sexual activity. 
While there are many drop-in centers for youth at risk in the city, none
provides a structured educational and recreational setting using the power of
music and the arts.  In addition,
currently operating centers are not open late at night when high risk behaviors
are most likely to take place. 

Two:
While there are many formal music schools and programs in Jerusalem, none of
them provides a permanent venue for their students to perform and to listen to
other musicians.  Students are also not
taught the social skills needed to work as a collective team in bands and on
stage, and they are not taught the entrepreneurial skills to forge sustainable
careers in the arts.  This contributes to
the general phenomenon of talented young people fleeing Jerusalem following their
studies.


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Program Accomplishments

This new project will build on AMI-Neshima's nine years of success working with diverse groups of youth and young adults throughout Israel – including high risk youth and young adults.  Since being launched in 2006, AMI-Neshima has impacted close to 40,000 Israeli youth and young adults through experiential educational workshops that teach Jewish texts, values and concepts through music and art.  Tens of thousands of additional young people have encountered AMI-Neshima through our community events.

AMI-Neshima's success is beginning to gain widespread recognition, as reflected in increased demand for partnerships with major Israeli educational organizations.  For example, the prestigious ORT network of schools contracted with AMI-Neshima to provide in-class workshops in 30 of its schools.  The Ministry of Education has also consistently expanded its partnership with AMI-Neshima, recognizing that AMI-Neshima offers an effective way to meet a major priority.  


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How do you measure the success of your program?

AMI-Neshima
is committed to ongoing, rigorous evaluation of all aspects of our
programming. 

Evaluation of our experiential
workshops is carried out via post-workshop questionnaires distributed to
participants to assess quantitative and qualitative impact, discussions with
educational staff, and discussions with AMI-Neshima staff.  Response from
participants has been overwhelmingly positive: Questionnaires indicate that for
80-90% of participants, the AMI-Neshima workshop represented a positive force
in helping them connect to diverse aspects of Jewish culture and
tradition. 

The impact on training of
artists has also been shown to continue beyond the training, expressed by Dr.
Inbar Galili Schechter, director of Jerusalem's Kerem Teacher Training
Institute: " AMI-Neshima's mentoring provided participating student
artists with a great deal of understanding, community building and artistic
expression."  

In evaluating SoBar
AMI-Neshima's staff will constantly monitor outcomes and activities to ensure
that they are in alignment with the stated mission and goals.  This will include tracking the number of
youth and young adults who attend programming and concerts.  We will collect contact information and
monitor the number of participants who return for second and third visits.   

The evaluation plan for specific
activities will be crafted in collaboration with partnering artistic and social
service organizations. 

The Young Artists Fellowship
program will be evaluated based on the degree to which participants express
feeling supported in their artistic growth, and that they have gained practical
career skills.  AMI-Neshima will remain
in contact with Fellows following the completion of the Fellowship and will
track their employment path for one year. 


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Young Artists Fellowship

About

AMI would like to partner with NOWGen Giving Circle to formulate and offer a Fellowship for Jerusalem young artists which will include:

  • Three months of weekly instruction on the use of the arts to understand Jewish themes and values, leadership and creativity with an emphasis on how these topics can be specifically translated into hands on artistic workshops for Jerusalem teens.
  • In addition to training young Jerusalem artists for work with AMI/Neshima in school settings, AMI recognizes the need to offer these young artists professional direction in their given fields. The area of hands on information for performance and career choices has become a very difficult one for all musicians.
  • Three months as students teachers in Jerusalem schools working hand in hand with our AMI artistic staff members
  • Assignments as full members of the AMI artistic staff in the coming school years
  • A performance towards the end of the fellowship which will showcase what they have learned and achieved

Potential Partners

  • Jerusalem Academy ( Rubin) of Music and Dance
  • Yellow Submarine Music Major Program
  • Ministry of Education

Proposed Fellowship Outline

12 meetings in the 2012-13 academic year, each unit is 4.5 hours.

  • Unit 1

Session 1: Introduction to Jewish art and culture –"What defines Jewish art"

Session 2: Teaching Soul to Soul

Session 3: The Young Jewish Artist's Profile- Where do I fit in?"

  • Unit 2

Session 1: Techniques for presenting Jewish arts and music workshops

Session 2: Lyric Writing

Session 3: Composition

  • Unit 3

Session 1: Building a career as a musicians – Carmi Wurtman, CEO 2BVibes Music

Session 2: Finding Gigs- Who books the shows and gallery openings?

Session 3: Participation as an artist in Music Festivals: What is available to me?-Yehudah Katz- Israeli music artist

  • Unit 4

Session 1: Observing your mentor in the classroom

Session 2: Student Teaching session

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Providing opportunities for young Jerusalem artists to develop leadership and the appropriate professional skills relevant to them and offer young artists direct avenues to apply the skills which they have learned in our Young Artists Fellowship Program.

Back to Top

Program Description

Through our strategic planning process, AMI has identified a community of young artists whose potential value to the community has yet been untapped:

  • By providing these young artists knowledge base about management, marketing, and booking we will enhance their ability to become more successful artists
  • Although these young artists already view themselves as a part of the artistic world , we will be able to help upgrade their value to themselves and the community by teaching them ways that Jewish content can enrich their music and creativity and enhance their marketable value to the community at large,
  • By exposing young artists to the power of music as a teaching tool and their personal potential to service the Jerusalem community – a mutual beneficiary they will be learning to give and receive in a win win setting
  • These young artists are the next generation of leaders who will influence future generations, working with them will give us the ability to expose new circles of young people to this innovative model

What we are proposing

AMI would like to partner with the Jerusalem Foundation to formulate and offer a Fellowship for Jerusalem young artists which will include:

  • Three months of weekly instruction on the use of the arts to understand Jewish themes and values, leadership and creativity with an emphasis on how these topics can be specifically translated into hands on artistic workshops for Jerusalem teens.
  • In addition to training young Jerusalem artists for work with AMI/Neshima in school settings, AMI recognizes the need to offer these young artists professional direction in their given fields. The area of hands on information for performance and career choices has become a very difficult one for all musicians.
  • Three months as students teachers in Jerusalem schools working hand in hand with our AMI artistic staff members
  • Assignments as full members of the AMI artistic staff in the coming school years
  • A performance towards the end of the fellowship which will showcase what they have learned and achieved

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

Jerusalem is a city of 3000 years of history whose citizens are diverse in nature and representation. In recent years there has been a negative migration from the city, mainly by young people who feel a void as it relates to their cultural needs and spiritual needs and their inability to find their rightful place in the community at large. Specifically young artists are not finding enough avenues to express themselves and relate their talents to the community at large.

AMI would like to address this issue by providing opportunities for young Jerusalem artists to develop leadership and the appropriate professional skills relevant to them and offer young artists direct avenues to apply the skills which they have learned in our Young Artists Fellowship Program (see below). The artists will be introduced to ways of relating to their roots, as artists and as members of the community, apply them to their special artistic talents and discover techniques by which they can help Jerusalem city school students in the areas of creativity and self-expression. These new young artists participating in Young Artists Fellowship will be getting an opportunity to develop new areas to actualize their professional skills broaden their skill sets and work with the City’s youth.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

Providing 300 teachers with tools to further engage their students in developing their Jewish identity. 85% reported that they are better equipped to teach topics related to Jewish culture and identity.

Providing nearly 10,000 Israeli youth from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to experience a deep connection to Judaism. 80-90% of participants reported that the AMI-Neshima workshops represented their first positive experience of Judaism.

Participants were exposed to new aspects of Jewish culture and history.

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

The current application is to a great extent an outgrowth of information that AMI-Neshima has received through evaluation of its activities, which has shown that artists are eager to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to improve the impact of their artistic expression. To date evaluation has been carried out via post-workshop questionnaires distributed to students to assess quantitative and qualitative impact, discussions with the artists and discussions with AMI-Neshima staff. Response from artists has been overwhelmingly positive: The questionnaires indicate that for 80-90% of participants the AMI-Neshima Yong Artists Fellowship represented their first artistic Jewish experience. The effect on participants has been shown to continue beyond the fellowship, as expressed by Dr. Micha Goodman, director of Midreshet Ein Pratt: "Our Mechina students' participation in Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Yom Kippur services is 100% to the credit of their particiation in the Neshima artists."

Back to Top

Young Artists Fellowship

About

AMI would like to partner with NOWGen Giving Circle to formulate and offer a Fellowship for Jerusalem young artists which will include:

  • Three months of weekly instruction on the use of the arts to understand Jewish themes and values, leadership and creativity with an emphasis on how these topics can be specifically translated into hands on artistic workshops for Jerusalem teens.
  • In addition to training young Jerusalem artists for work with AMI/Neshima in school settings, AMI recognizes the need to offer these young artists professional direction in their given fields. The area of hands on information for performance and career choices has become a very difficult one for all musicians.
  • Three months as students teachers in Jerusalem schools working hand in hand with our AMI artistic staff members
  • Assignments as full members of the AMI artistic staff in the coming school years
  • A performance towards the end of the fellowship which will showcase what they have learned and achieved

Potential Partners

  • Jerusalem Academy ( Rubin) of Music and Dance
  • Yellow Submarine Music Major Program
  • Ministry of Education

Proposed Fellowship Outline

12 meetings in the 2012-13 academic year, each unit is 4.5 hours.

  • Unit 1

Session 1: Introduction to Jewish art and culture –"What defines Jewish art"

Session 2: Teaching Soul to Soul

Session 3: The Young Jewish Artist's Profile- Where do I fit in?"

  • Unit 2

Session 1: Techniques for presenting Jewish arts and music workshops

Session 2: Lyric Writing

Session 3: Composition

  • Unit 3

Session 1: Building a career as a musicians – Carmi Wurtman, CEO 2BVibes Music

Session 2: Finding Gigs- Who books the shows and gallery openings?

Session 3: Participation as an artist in Music Festivals: What is available to me?-Yehudah Katz- Israeli music artist

  • Unit 4

Session 1: Observing your mentor in the classroom

Session 2: Student Teaching session

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Providing opportunities for young Jerusalem artists to develop leadership and the appropriate professional skills relevant to them and offer young artists direct avenues to apply the skills which they have learned in our Young Artists Fellowship Program.

Back to Top

Program Description

Through our strategic planning process, AMI has identified a community of young artists whose potential value to the community has yet been untapped:

  • By providing these young artists knowledge base about management, marketing, and booking we will enhance their ability to become more successful artists
  • Although these young artists already view themselves as a part of the artistic world , we will be able to help upgrade their value to themselves and the community by teaching them ways that Jewish content can enrich their music and creativity and enhance their marketable value to the community at large,
  • By exposing young artists to the power of music as a teaching tool and their personal potential to service the Jerusalem community – a mutual beneficiary they will be learning to give and receive in a win win setting
  • These young artists are the next generation of leaders who will influence future generations, working with them will give us the ability to expose new circles of young people to this innovative model

What we are proposing

AMI would like to partner with the Jerusalem Foundation to formulate and offer a Fellowship for Jerusalem young artists which will include:

  • Three months of weekly instruction on the use of the arts to understand Jewish themes and values, leadership and creativity with an emphasis on how these topics can be specifically translated into hands on artistic workshops for Jerusalem teens.
  • In addition to training young Jerusalem artists for work with AMI/Neshima in school settings, AMI recognizes the need to offer these young artists professional direction in their given fields. The area of hands on information for performance and career choices has become a very difficult one for all musicians.
  • Three months as students teachers in Jerusalem schools working hand in hand with our AMI artistic staff members
  • Assignments as full members of the AMI artistic staff in the coming school years
  • A performance towards the end of the fellowship which will showcase what they have learned and achieved

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

Jerusalem is a city of 3000 years of history whose citizens are diverse in nature and representation. In recent years there has been a negative migration from the city, mainly by young people who feel a void as it relates to their cultural needs and spiritual needs and their inability to find their rightful place in the community at large. Specifically young artists are not finding enough avenues to express themselves and relate their talents to the community at large.

AMI would like to address this issue by providing opportunities for young Jerusalem artists to develop leadership and the appropriate professional skills relevant to them and offer young artists direct avenues to apply the skills which they have learned in our Young Artists Fellowship Program (see below). The artists will be introduced to ways of relating to their roots, as artists and as members of the community, apply them to their special artistic talents and discover techniques by which they can help Jerusalem city school students in the areas of creativity and self-expression. These new young artists participating in Young Artists Fellowship will be getting an opportunity to develop new areas to actualize their professional skills broaden their skill sets and work with the City’s youth.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

Providing 300 teachers with tools to further engage their students in developing their Jewish identity. 85% reported that they are better equipped to teach topics related to Jewish culture and identity.

Providing nearly 10,000 Israeli youth from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to experience a deep connection to Judaism. 80-90% of participants reported that the AMI-Neshima workshops represented their first positive experience of Judaism.

Participants were exposed to new aspects of Jewish culture and history.

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

The current application is to a great extent an outgrowth of information that AMI-Neshima has received through evaluation of its activities, which has shown that artists are eager to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to improve the impact of their artistic expression. To date evaluation has been carried out via post-workshop questionnaires distributed to students to assess quantitative and qualitative impact, discussions with the artists and discussions with AMI-Neshima staff. Response from artists has been overwhelmingly positive: The questionnaires indicate that for 80-90% of participants the AMI-Neshima Yong Artists Fellowship represented their first artistic Jewish experience. The effect on participants has been shown to continue beyond the fellowship, as expressed by Dr. Micha Goodman, director of Midreshet Ein Pratt: "Our Mechina students' participation in Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Yom Kippur services is 100% to the credit of their particiation in the Neshima artists."

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