This past Yom HaShoah SAR HS students, parents and community members were treated to SAR’s fourth production of Witness Theater. The program, conceived by Irit and Ezra Dagan in collaboration with JDC-Eshel in Israel and run in the U.S. in conjunction with the UJA, Selfhelp and the Claims Conference, pairs Holocaust survivors with high school students in a therapeutic and collaborative environment. Working with social workers Roni Miller, Mollie Goldin and Ashley Powers, drama therapist Jessica Asch and drama assistant Niloofar Alishahi, the survivors shared their rich and often horrific experiences with the students and collaborated with them to create a dramatic presentation that reflected each of their unique experiences. Students and survivors met every Wednesday night since September!
This year was SAR’s largest Witness Theater to date, SAR’s production featured the stories of 7 Holocaust survivors; Anne Himmelstein, Elvina Lenz, Lisl Malkin, Lisa Mints, Giggi Struass, Fred Strauss and Hanna Wolkun. The student participants were Ayelet Bar-David, Keren Benillouche, Rachel Blumenstein, Rachel Charendoff, Kayla Friedman, Sara Goldstein, Romi Harcsztark, Elisheva Hermann, Anna Jonas, Sam Kinches, Naama Kobrin, Elisheva Picker, Libby Bergier-Pesin, Rebecca Rosenzweig, Batya Sarna and Sarah Smart. Music for the production was under the direction of Rabbi Kenneth Birnbaum and featured Rabbi Greg Wall, Janice Friedman, and Brian Glassman as well as the SAR choir. A link to the performance can be found on SAR’s YouTube page. Thank you to all involved in this unique and moving theatrical performance.