In 2020, Israeli ministries burst with creativity.
It has been almost six months since the first restrictions have been introduced in Israel due to the coronavirus. At first it meant complete social isolation, and later, new directives were being introduced every couple of weeks. Theaters have remained closed and social events have been kept to a minimum, with few people allowed in attendance.
One could think that the arts have been put entirely on hold.
But in reality, artists found a new purpose in their craft – to diffuse hope across the world. In Italy, and later in other countries as well, musicians gave performances on their balconies, interest in books and movies (especially on plagues) has surged, and face masks have turned into canvases for artists everywhere.
We want to introduce you to Israeli ministries that have art at the forefront of their mission. In 2020, instead of suspending their work, they took it to a whole level. Just like the global art scene adapted to the universal state of crisis, the body of Messiah figured out a way to use the arts to bless Israel amid the pandemic.
Yuval School of Music and the Arts
The changes happening at the Yuval School of Music and the Arts have been tremendous this year, and not just because of Covid-19. The founders of the school, Irit Iffert and Yael Kalisher, have passed on the baton to their successors, Yoel and Liel Davis. Now, with the summer coming to an end, the new leaders are ready to take the new school year by storm!
The Yuval School is teaching believers of all ages how to be vessels of worship in their everyday lives. They offer classes in piano, guitar, bass, violin, percussion, and other, depending on interest. Additionally, the school has offered seminars for song writing, sound and music production and more. They have also co-produced worship and musical events throughout Israel.
In the earlier part of the year many activities at Yuval were indeed put on hold. But when most summer camps in the land were called off, many families expressed interest in their children attending music classes. Yuval reactivated their work, some of it online, and met the need of the community, which proved to be a huge success.
Change is something we cannot escape, and for artists it is important to stay creative and adapt. That is why Yuval is considering many variants of operation in the school year of 2020-21. But considering that their model is to teach, inspire and create, with a high degree of ingenuity involved, they are confident to find new solutions for any circumstances.
Maoz Israel and Fellowship of Artists
Another ministry in Israel that has not let 2020 catch them off guard is Maoz Israel. This multifaceted organization serves and encourages believers in the land in many ways – one of them being through music projects with local artists.
Creative and professional in their approach, Maoz Israel is building a community of musicians dedicated to making the praises of God commonplace in Israel. And it looks like even Covid-19 could not stand in their way.
Kobi and Shani Ferguson are passionate about training and equipping talented artists in the land of Israel. This year has been very fruitful and productive for them at Maoz Israel.
The unexpected lockdowns and restrictions have encouraged ingenuity and networking. Travel bans turned into blessings in disguise, when artists who normally would be on tour were now at home, ready to collaborate.
Having connected with many local artists, the Fergusons expanded their network significantly through Fellowship of Artists. Currently, they are also expanding their Fellowship of Artists studio and investing in new workstations, as they anticipate more growth. And if the enthusiasm at the ministry is any indication, the inspiration and creativity among believers in Israel are very much alive and well.
One of their big triumphs in 2020 was collaborating with an Israeli artist Shilo Ben Hod. Shilo composed songs during long hours of worship before God and recorded an entire album during the pandemic. Defying the uncertainty of this season, Shilo reemerged on the Israeli music scene with sounds of praise and celebration.
Ascend Program by Kehilat HaCarmel
The congregation on Mount Carmel has long been recognized for its musical contributions to the Body of Believers in Israel. In the recent years, musicians and intercessors were welcomed in the Ascend Program, which offers training in biblical worship.
Led by a renowned worship leader, Sarah Liberman, the program also ignited collaboration between many local artists and musicians, who share a passion for raising worshippers.
Unsurprisingly, this year Ascend was not able to welcome new students in the land of the Bible, as Israel closed its borders. Instead, a new version of the program was created online, called iAscend.
iAscend is complimentary to the stationary program, and everyone around the world can join from the comfort of their home. The online option gives participants a chance to connect and get inspired. Overcoming the obstacles of the modern world, this virtual program is allowing worshippers and intercessors worldwide to encourage one another and grow in their calling.
Registered participants will be given access to unique materials for both the core “Worship Journey” program and for one of the electives: musical worship track, prayer & intercession track, creative track, and business & leadership track. The package of iAscend includes a variety of resources to use at home and an interactive experience that takes participants around the land of Israel.
Pre-registration for iAscend opens in the end of September. For more information, visit: www.ascend.org.il.
We’ve known this before, but the year 2020 only accentuated how therapeutic art can be. By engaging into a creative activity, we process what we are going through.
Whether it’s through music, visual arts, written word or dance, these means to express ourselves can show the outside world what is happening on the inside of us. Art helps us communicate and connect.
We are also recording history with our art. It is our legacy. The Israeli ministries: Yuval School, Maoz Israel and the iAscend Program are making sure that when we return to our schools, concert halls and social gatherings, we will be in awe of how God carried us through. As the ultimate Artist and Creator, He shared with us the arts, so we can be a part of something bigger.
This article originally appeared on FIRM, September 4, 2020, and reposted with permission.