Pardes Arts & Culture Fellowship

Back to the Year Program

The Arts and Culture Fellowship is reserved for outstanding Year Program applicants with rich backgrounds in one or more of the arts (e.g. music, theater, creative writing, visual arts, dance, etc.). Candidates should be highly motivated and bring experience in facilitating creative communal programming. Arts & Culture Fellows will submit a proposal for a self-directed personal project in the medium of their choice that will be informed by their intensive Jewish text study, with support from a community mentor. Fellows will also be responsible for infusing the larger Pardes community with a spirit of creativity through offering workshops, enriching holiday programming, and helping others explore the local arts scene. Fellows will meet periodically as a cohort to experiment with ideas and techniques, share works in progress, and explore the intersection of the arts and Jewish text more broadly.

  • All fellows will receive a guaranteed living expense grant ranging from $200-$600/month (exact amount determined by financial need) AND receive highly subsidized Year Program tuition: $3,000 discount for those not eligible for Masa Israel Journey funding, and $2,000 discount for those eligible for Masa funding.
  • Arts and Culture Fellows are full time Pardes students, with the choice to be either a semester student, or a year long student. Priority consideration is offered to year long applicants.

Candidates must fill out BOTH the 2023-24 Year Program application and the Fellowship application, and upload a cover letter and portfolio or artistic sample. Applications for this fellowship are due on May 15, 2023. Limited slots available. For more information, email

Spotlight on: 2021-22 Arts & Culture Fellows

Hannah Kressel – Prior to beginning her studies at Pardes, Hannah completed her Master’s in the History of Art at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. There, her dissertation research centered on cookbooks made by artists. Hannah holds a Bachelor’s (summa cum laude) from Brandeis University in art history, studio art, and European Cultural Studies. While at Brandeis, Hannah wrote her honors thesis on notions of physical and spiritual nourishment in the art of six contemporary Jewish women artists. When she’s not writing about or making art, you can find her in the kitchen feeding her starter, rolling out rough puff, and braiding challah.

Hannah Kressel

Hannah facilitating a Hanukiah-making workshop at Pardes, Nov 2021



Oil on canvas, 2018 by Hannah Kressel

Gianina Dwek – Gianina is an entrepreneur and creative from Manchester, England. From sculpture and mosaic courses in Buenos Aires to glassblowing workshops in St Helens and set designing in Bristol, Gianina enjoys exploring the world around her through an artistic lens. After graduating with a BA in Theatre and Spanish in 2020, she founded her own eco-friendly fashion brand, milipili, which aims to make a positive social and environmental impact. Her most recent projects include designing artwork for Challah Magazine, the JDC Entwine virtual gallery, and the LAVIOT High Holidays anthology; creating an animation for the Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art in Manchester; and volunteering remotely for the Arts & Culture Programme at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. Gianina is particularly interested in examining the relationship between the arts and health and is keen to pursue a career in hospital arts. milipili shop website: / Photography Instagram: @dusk_and_dandelion


 Sara Laya Heller, Arts Beit Midrash Coordinator – Sara Laya is from Silver Spring, MD. She studied at Michlelet Emunah College for Women in Jerusalem with a focus in Art Education, and then at Machon Maayan Seminary in Bet Shemesh, Israel before making aliyah in 2010. She has been a madricha at Machon Maayan, a Sunday school teacher at Bnai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD, an art teacher at Yeshiva University’s summer camp for at-risk youth in the periphery of Israel called Counterpoint, at Camp Tizmoret Shoshana, a summer camp dedicated to the expressive arts for teen girls from ultra-orthodox communities, at Midreshet Amalia Middle School in Jerusalem, and at Evelina Tehila Girls High School in Jerusalem. As this year’s Arts and Culture Fellow for the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE), Sara Laya is excited to explore and develop a way to combine Torah learning and self-introspection through the Arts. Her dream is to create an art studio combined with learning Jewish texts, to bring color and life to the text on the page and into everyday Jewish life.

Meet 2018-19 Pardes Arts & Culture Fellow Rebecca Herz

Sharing my authentic self with Pardes has been liberating for me as an artist and a whole human being! It’s been a process of learning to attune to what the community needs. As for my personal practice of writing poetry and learning in the beit midrash, which to me are completely intertwined, there’s been this flow of knowledge that has become so embodied that I can no longer distinguish it from my spiritual journey. – Rebecca Herz (pictured: standing, second from right), 2018-19 Pardes Arts & Culture Fellow

Bringing her background in music, poetry, yoga and teaching, Rebecca has created “Pray & Paint for Pittsburgh”, an open mic night social action fundraiser, and monthly alternative Rosh Chodesh celebrations integrating music, visual art and movement. She has also organized local gallery tours.

In addition to facilitating opportunities for creative expression within the community, Rebecca reflects on the themes of the texts she explores in the Beit Midrash through her original poetry, joining a long tradition of Pardes students who have woven beloved and challenging texts into music and other art forms (Bible Raps, Girls in Trouble, The God Album – to name just a few!)