Imagine the opportunity to study Isaac Newton's hand-written theological papers revealing Newton's hidden religious fervor in the original, to examine a manuscript from 1600 on magic and the occult, or learn European culture through the archival letters of Napoleon, Stefan Zweig, and Walter Benjamin, or via the beautiful drawings of the poet Elsa Lasker-Schüller. The National Library is making this possible for Jerusalem high school students.
In the first collaboration of its kind, The National Library is working together with Jerusalem's Education Administration, eleven Jerusalem-area high schools, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to provide a matriculation course on the humanities for honor students from throughout Jerusalem. Modeled on a previous program based at the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy entitled "Central Ideas in Western Culture", the new Library course entails a three-year program that prepares students for an advanced matriculation exam in the humanities. The combination of first-rate university faculty, the wide-ranging expertise of the National Library team and the exhilarating experience of encountering treasures from the National Library collections provide an unforgettable learning experience that will serve as a platform for a new generation of humanities scholars.
The program, administered by the Keshet School in Jerusalem, has selected twenty excelling students from across the city to participate in the three-year course that meets weekly at the National Library. Library content experts and educational staff, together with Hebrew University humanities faculty, present group seminars and individual study. Students and program instructors delve deep into primary and secondary source material within the humanities, enabling first-hand engagement with the development of Western thought and culture. The program provides an unprecedented opportunity to high school students to experience study of the humanities at an early stage in their education and at an exceedingly high level.