Yuval Arts started as a school for young dreamers who wanted to practice music and arts. Since its launch, the ministry has greatly outgrown its original goals.
Who was Yuval?
Thanks to King David and other artists in the Bible, we know that the all-powerful Creator takes delight in music and arts. Our worship touches His heart. But the Bible mentions art long before David sat on the throne of Israel.
Already in the beginning of the book of Genesis we read of Yuval, who was “the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” (Gen. 4:21) This “father” of music was the inspiration behind the name of the Jerusalem-founded school of music and arts.
Yuval School of Music and Arts was founded by Irit Iffert and Alex Atlas, later joined by Jael Kalisher. With great support from King of Kings Ministries, they opened the doors of opportunity to many local children as well as adults.
Iffert described Yuval School as a place where “people can come, no matter what age, and they can put their roots into the living water of Yeshua.”
The Making of Yuval Arts School
The name Yuval in Hebrew means ‘a stream of water’ or a river. The word appears also in a passage from Jeremiah:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river (yuval)…” (Jer 17:7-8a)
True to this word, the school strives to help its students grow and bear fruit with the talents and gifts from God. But how did it all begin?
Iffert, who finished Israel’s prestigious Rimon Music School, dreamed of an art school by believers for believers. Atlas shared the vision, so together they approached leaders of King of Kings, HaChotam Publishing and Jerusalem Assembly.
All three ministries were excited about Yuval and agreed to sit on the school’s board of directors. A few years later, The Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel would also come on the board. The ministries, though different, each shared the unifying vision of what Yuval was created to accomplish.
On September 6, 2010, Yuval Art School officially opened its doors. The first open house brought almost 120 students who registered for classes on the spot. The following month first classes were ready to start.
Learning and Growing as a Community
The great German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven once said that music was the mediator between the spiritual and sensual. He considered it to be a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
And so Yuval Art School does a lot more than just teach music and arts to those living in Israel. They became a community. Every day of the week, apart from Shabbat, the Yuval classrooms resound with music. To date their youngest student was 3 years old, and the oldest – 65!
Over the past 10+ years the directors and teachers at Yuval Arts have organized specialized seminars and holiday showcases. They also introduce their students to worship.
Worship is not just playing an instrument or singing a song, as they explain. Those are expressions of worship, but the worship is the attitude of the heart – they added.
Arts and Music for the People
Yuval offers their classes at a discounted rate of 50 percent less than the true value of what average classes in Israel cost. On top of that, students gain access to instruments, supplies, and other necessary equipment.
The students are offered the discounted rate thanks to gracious donors who keep the school in operation. But if the fees corresponded with the real cost, nobody could afford to actually study there.
“Regular community centers are subsidized by the government, but since we’re a place run by believers, we are not,” Kalisher explains. “[But] we still have to give a competitive price, otherwise it would be too expensive.”
As a private, faith-based organization, Yuval School of Music and Arts receives no grants from the Israeli Ministry of Education nor the Ministry of Culture. This creates a special challenge for students of Yuval as well as for staff.
Average families can rarely afford weekly classes for four or five children. From the position of the staff members, problems arise when there are simply too few resources to offer.
Yuval Beyond Music and Arts
Nevertheless, the financial challenges are not big enough to quench the vision. Especially since the ministry is very needed across the country! And Yuval’s work has been as creative as it is broad.
In addition to regular, in-house classes that Yuval offers, they also host specialized seminars, congregational worship workshops, holiday showcases, master classes, sound production intensives, songwriting sessions and an annual year-end recital.
They train the students to be on stage, in bright lights, and to still redirect their focus to God. You can’t learn that just by speaking about it.
Through that, Yuval Arts is dedicated to train, equip and guide artistic expression, creativity and musicality to bring honor to the Lord. Their vision was always to raise up worshippers, and to this vision they remain true today.
Major Shifts in Recent Years
During lockdowns, artists found a new purpose in their craft – to diffuse hope across the world. In 2020, instead of suspending their work, ministries in Israel took it to a whole level. The body of Messiah figured out a way to use music and arts to bless Israel amid the pandemic.
The founders of Yuval Arts passed the baton on to their successors, Yoel and Liel Davis. They decided to narrow and sharpen the focus of their work. The new directors put emphasis back on teaching, with over 100 students taking weekly classes despite restrictions.
In the beginning of the pandemic, 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 quickly reactivated their work, some of it online, and met the need of the community. Which proved to be a huge success.
Joining Hands with Yuval Arts
Yuval Arts is once again mainly teaching – especially helping believers of all ages to be vessels of worship in their everyday lives. They offer classes in piano, guitar, bass, violin, percussion, and other, depending on interest.
The model of Yuval Arts is to teach, inspire and create. With a high degree of ingenuity involved, they are confident to find new solutions for any circumstances. Today, we can all encourage creativity in the land of Israel. Join us – and become a part of the Tribe!
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