Shavuot in Israel
By Josh Weinberg
On Shavuot Night Storahtelling Israel Team (Sipurei Sta”M) performed at Jerusalem's Mercaz Tarbut Amim L’Noar (International Cultural and Youth Center) in the German Colony. The cast consisted of Storah mavens Eran Kraus and Josh Weinberg, with guest actors. Our focus was “Who are you to tell me what to do?” The age-old question of the sources of our authority in light of the giving of Torah. It was a full house. The audience was really the perfect audience for this type of event - mostly modern Orthodox between the ages of 18-60 who were well versed in text and appreciated the sarcasm and humor that other audiences might have missed. They were also very willing to discuss and engage with each other.
We opened with a “petichta” in which we all sang a different song giving the appearance that each cast member took it upon themselves to usurp authority. We transitioned by saying that since the giving of Torah Jews have had a multitude of opinions, and from there introduced STorahtelling. Our opening scene took us to a family of Beni Yisrael (Mishpachat Yisraeli) three days prior to the “big event” at Sinai. Through the verses of Exodus 19:1-8 we wrestled with the notions of Slavery to Freedom, who is our new authority? Whether we are ok with accepting a law without knowing what is written, and whether or not Mitzvot come with זכויות as well as responsibility and burdens.
We asked the audience - “Why did Israel agree to accept the Torah?”
We ended with two skits, one of a Bar Mitzvah boy getting dumped on by his whole family because he is ready to take on more responsibility, and then a skit between “God” and “Moshe Rabeinu” poking fun at the far reaching effects of interpreting law.
Overall I would say that was a very successful performance. Working with real actors and pre-written scripts was very important.