• By Pamela Deutsch

    Zipi Mizrachi is a ground breaker.? Recognizing the lack of opportunities for religious women to pursue careers as serious artists, Zipi created A Studio of Her Own.

    Zipi, who is 45 years old, was raised in Ashkelon, attended religious schools, and spent two years as a national service volunteer, one as a tour guide in Kfar Darom before it was actually a recognized settlement, and one as a kindergarten teacher in Ma?ale Adumim working with families who had been evicted from the Musrara neighborhood in Jerusalem.? Following her national service, Zipi studied music and Judaism at the Michlala Jerusalem, married and had two children.

    Divorced after seven years of marriage, Zipi started working as music history teacher at two religious girl?s high schools in Jerusalem, Tzivia and Horev, as a music teacher in a Montessori kindergarten, and as an instructor in music teaching methodology at the Beit Yakov Teacher?s Seminary.? Three years later, in 1997, Zipi remarried and became a partner in raising five boys in addition to her own two daughters, later having an additional child with her current husband.? In parallel she began studying for Masters Degrees in art history and musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.? Zipi completed her course work in art history as well her master?s thesis on musicology, receiving her degree in 2008.

    By 1999, Zipi was beginning to spread her wings. She convinced two religious girl?s high schools, Tzivia in Jerusalem and Ma?ale Adumim, to add art programs to their matriculation curricula.? This required intensive work with the directors of school networks to promote the idea of including art studies for matriculation in religious high schools.? For six years Zipi served as the Ministry of Education, Supervisory Department mentor for art programs in religious high schools all over the country.? This included writing a syllabus for matriculation educational programs, writing and grading matriculation exams, and in general establishing standards for matriculation level art education in religious schools.

    Three years ago, Zipi began studying for her PhD in gender studies at the Bar Ilan University.? In the beginning the focus of her research was on the art work of religious women. As her research progressed, Zipi realized that research was not enough and what was needed was action.

    A Studio of her Own began as a project of The Jerusalem Center for Young Adults, established in Musrara by the Lev Hair Community Administration.? When funding for that Center became uncertain Zipi looked for a new home for the program, eventually establishing her own non-profit organization.? A Studio of Her Own is now located in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, within a setting that includes several programs serving religious youth at risk.? Each year 10 religious women artists are given access to studio space, a business mentoring course, mentoring by established artists, opportunities to exhibit their work, and a supportive community in which to develop their art work and their own studios.? Last June, the first group held a successful exhibition at the Jerusalem House of Quality.?? Now, as second year participants, they are in the process of establishing themselves as businesses.? Participants in both years of the program give back to the community by teaching art courses for youth at risk and other needy populations.


    Zipi has been documenting every step of her process, meetings, contacts, relationships , the experience of working with all these different people and organizations and this material, this action research ?will be the basis of her thesis; practical information on how to be an activist and ?establish a feminist organization.

    Zipi continues to head the art department at Tzvia Ma?ale Adumim, to teach at the Emunah and Efrata colleges in Jerusalem, and to serve as the CEO of A Studio of Her Own.


    I met Zipi, when she requested Financial Resource Development assistance from Shatil, and was only at the very beginning of her process.? For the last two years, I have mentored Zipi as her idea became a reality.? Making her dream come true, has required Zipi to stretch in many directions, acquire a whole new skill set, establish new relationships, and utilize her many talents.? It has been a distinct pleasure to be part of her process.



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