Bringing the Tanakh Alive:
The stories of Torah come alive for us when we live through them. Every year we have been instructed to tell the tale of the Exodus as if we came out of Egypt. This workshop will introduce your students to theatrical techniques that will enable them to take on characters, identify with their situations and challenges, and create original stories, playing out the scenerios that the torah has provided. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Torah’s living beings and the choices they made.
Our Torah is filled with archetypal characters and stories. What it often lacks is an understanding of the motivation that draws characters to certain choices. Midrash is about the idiosyncratic ‘why’ and discovering the fire between the lines of our ancient text. There is no single correct interpretation of any passage or story, but by allowing ourselves to identify with a situation, find where it resonates in our own lives, and create story from that bridge, we come to deeper understanding of why the Torah echoes in our lives.
It Can Happen Here’ is Giselle Hirsch’s story. The eldest of five children whose father was a hard working entrepreneur in a small Hungarian village, the teenage Gissie could not imagine the events that would change her life forever. Your students are drawn into this world through a peer whose interests and issues are much like theirs. Gissie, the eldest in her family, is in her senior year, in love, and planning a life rich in faith and family, as the events of the Holocaust unfold. Piece by piece her world is dismantled until every last hope for a normal tomorrow is crushed and brings to the fore a strength she did not know she possessed.
As a teenager, growing up the sixties, I often thought and said “I would not let that happen. I would have seen it coming. I would have stopped the Nazis.” I was naive. This story allows the audience to enter the heart and mind of one young person and emerge with an understanding of how people, good people, were drawn into the horror we now call ‘the holocaust.’
The performance will be followed by a discussion or workshop (we will discuss your preference) for teen participants. We will explore how issues such as conformity, peer pressure, fear, and bullying can all lead to the outcomes they have just seen. Most significantly we will explore Ellie Wiezel’s most apt quote “The opposite of good is not evil. It is indifference.”