Tikvah Scholars Program
The Tikvah High School Scholars Program aims to educate the future intellectual, moral, and civic leaders of the Jewish people by giving a select group of Jewish high school students a chance to study great texts and big questions in an enriched educational environment. The Tikvah program is about the spirited study of ideas—freedom and virtue, faith and reason, love and death, ethicsand economics. It is rooted in the belief that the strongest high school students should study the most serious human things, and that Jewish students need to explore and understand the great contributions of Jewish thought to human self-understanding, and the great contributions of philosophy, political thought, literature, and theology to charting the Jewish future.
The Tikvah program has two distinct components–a year-long course of study designed and executed by SAR as part of our Machshevet Yisrael curriculum (“Tikvah Course”); and a series of weekend retreats and other enrichment opportunities administered entirely by Tikvah (“Tikvah Scholars Program”). The Tikvah Scholars Program is open to 11th graders who complete the application process and who Tikvah selects for admission.
The Service/Chesed Program at SAR is designed for students to engage in hands-on service, as well as to become advocates and educators about their experiences. Students are introduced to social service agencies including community arts programming, children’s services in orphanages and hospitals, serving the homeless and the hungry, leading programs at homes for the developmentally disabled, engaging in public park clean-up and planting projects, and facilitating Jewish learning and book-clubs at senior centers. These programs thrive through the students’ creativity, vision, and care.
At the beginning of the school year, students are introduced to the scope of six chesed initiatives: The Arts, Children’s Services, Homelessness & Hunger, Hospitals & Health, Parks & Nature, and Senior Centers & Nursing Homes. Working together, each advisory adopts a service project for the year within the scope of one initiative. In addition to volunteering at the selected agency that year, students learn about the service need and prepare activities and materials for the volunteer events. The four grade-wide service days similarly engage students at sites that relate to the service areas. Students select sites based on personal interest and have the opportunity to work and learn with peers and teachers outside their advisories.
Ultimately, SAR students create additional service communities by participating in chesed initiatives beyond the school day through Midnight Run, It’s My Park! Day, NY Blood Center Drives, the Ohel Bais Ezra Chavruta Program, Riverdale Y and Senior Homes Lunch Volunteering, Reading Initiatives, Chesed-A-Day Club, Peer Tutoring, and the NY Cares Coat Drive. Juniors and Seniors also have the opportunity to participate in the February Service Mission. Our mission destinations have included Israel, Argentina, and New Orleans.
Art & Music
The Nashir Choir Festival, founded in 2006, is a one-day event that brings together choral singers from local Jewish day schools. Participating students have the opportunity to work with professionals in the field of music to increase their performing ability and general knowledge of choral music. Workshop hosts come from a variety of musical backgrounds and traditions and in the past have included The Western Wind Ensemble, Blue Jupiter, Dr. Frankco Harris, ‘Round Midnight, Dr. Cindy Bell, and Nick Page. The students also have the opportunity to meet and socialize with singers from other schools. At the end of the day there is a concert for the entire school given by the participating choirs with a concluding number performed by all of the festival participants together.
One of the exciting visual art experiences available to a select group of gifted artists is the Artist-in-Residence Program. Here a professional New York area artist is invited to create a permanent installation of artwork in the school collaboratively with these talented students. The work usually is centered around a Jewish theme chosen by the guest artist. Artists involved have shown in galleries and museums in New York and around the world. Some of the participating artists have included Tobi Kahn www.tobikahn.com, Siona Benjamin www.artsiona.com, David Wander www.davidwanderstudio.com, Yona Verwer www.yonaverwer.com, and Debbie Ugoretz www.ugoretzjudaicart.com.
One of the culminating events for the Arts at SAR High School, is the Night of Music and Art. Here the school is transformed into an Arts festival space. The halls are adorned by fantastic work from the various visual art classes and clubs. The year’s Artist-in-Residence and participants showcase their completed collaborative piece/s. Students in the musical ensembles, choir and talented individual students perform their hearts out. The SAR Dramatic society will often have students perform moving, funny and original monologues for a full audience in the auditorium. It is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding culiminations to the academic year.