The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Akiva School Unveils Mural to Captivate Hearts and Minds

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Artist Todd Goodman puts the finishing touch on the mural

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Akiva students celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new mural

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Todd Goodman’s finished mural in the entrance of Akiva School

In an inspiring blend of colors and symbolism, Akiva School recently unveiled a stunning mural in its front foyer. Created by renowned artist Todd Goodman, this artistic piece stands as a vibrant testament to the school's core ethos and aspirations. 

The mural portrays a child engrossed in the joy of reading, set against a backdrop of a serene sunset pallet, surrounded by a profound message, drawn from the wisdom of Chassidic Rabbi, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov:  

היום בו נולדת הוא היום בו החליט הקב”ה שהעולם אינו יכול להתקיים בלעדיך”  "The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without you." 

The genesis of this project was born from the Akiva's Parent Teacher and Friends Association chairs, Vivian Fischer and Pam Abromowitz and Akiva parent and volunteer, Miriam Horwitz. Their aim was to transform the school's entryway into a modern space that not only welcomes but inspires all who pass through. "We wanted to infuse the area with vitality and warmth, to create an environment where every child feels valued and cherished,” Fischer explains. Horwitz adds that, “We were looking to create something that reflected the Akiva community values and would speak to the children while bringing them joy as they entered the school.” 

The task of bringing their vision to life was entrusted to California-based artist Todd Goodman. Boasting a repertoire rich in Jewish-inspired art and mural experience, Goodman's passion for infusing spaces with meaning made him the perfect fit for the project. 

For Goodman, the mural's significance extends beyond mere aesthetics. "It's about setting the tone," he asserts. "As students enter the school each day, they're greeted by a visual reminder of their worth and potential. It's a symbol of encouragement, urging them to approach each day with fresh eyes and eager hearts." 

Central to the mural's design is the celebration of learning—a value deeply ingrained in Akiva's ethos. "Books and reading are the cornerstone of Jewish tradition," Goodman explains. "By prominently featuring them in the mural, we pay homage to our rich heritage, while inspiring a love for learning in the next generation."  Head of School, Rabba Daniella Pressner, adds that, “It is so vital to our mission that we work to help our children recognize the power of their ultimate place in this world and learn to see this power as a profound responsibility to give back and lead.” 

As the vibrant new mural now adorns Akiva's entryway, the school pulses with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Students, parents, and faculty alike find themselves uplifted by its presence, and infused with a little more sunshine and excitement each day. In this artistic piece, Akiva School has crafted not just a mural, but a lasting symbol of hope and possibility. 


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