Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
The “Honey Brown Eyes” is Alma (Maia DeSanti), a Bosnian-Muslim woman in her 30s, whose childhood beauty and eyes, which earned her nickname, have long since dimmed due to age and suffering. Alma’s husband, as she tells the Serbian soldier who breaks into her kitchen and takes her hostage, has been shot and thrown off a bridge. In between assaults and threats of rape from Dragan, the 20-something Bosnian-Serb soldier, Alma reveals that she has not yet been able to retrieve her husband’s body and bury it. But however traumatized, she knows enough to tell Dragan that she has a son and to deny having a 12-year-old daughter, as his list of names tells him. Alma knows enough to suspect the Serbian officials’ designs in rounding up teen-aged girls.
The war which broke out in the early 90s in the Balkans is not a conflict where we would expect to find Jewish characters, and the closest thing in the play is probably Jovanka’s resemblance to a Brooklyn bubbie in her matter-of-fact approach to her life in a war zone and her insistence on feeding her guest. Indeed, Ari Roth, artistic director of Theater J, calls the play an “unlikely” choice for the Jewish theater, though he also insists it is an “inevitable” one. “Unlikely because we’ve never been to the Balkans before as a company,” Roth wrote on the Theater J website. “We’ve gone to different parts of Europe to trigger memory of a different genocide. Which is, of course, what also makes this inevitable.”
The Holocaust Museum’s mandate should clearly be tied to the important question of whether commitment to Holocaust memory necessitates responsibility in all other genocides. But even if Jews should be leading the way in fighting genocides of all kinds, is there anything Jewish about a play about war in the Balkans just because it appears at a Jewish theater? Would the Jewish angle even occur to us if it appeared at a theater that was not affiliated with a Jewish Community Center?
If I am honest, I was skeptical about the play’s relevance to a Jewish audience before seeing it. I felt the same way after seeing it, until I realized that it felt particularly pertinent while I was sitting in the audience. In the Balkans, we see innocent and unarmed Muslims being brutally attacked just for being Muslims, an unjust religious persecution with which Jews can definitely identify. And several of the exchanges in the brilliant dialogue rang so true that they transcended the war in the Balkans and carried universal appeal. In one exchange, Denis, who is aware that neither his sister nor his brother-in-law has been killed, tells Jovanka about how he blames himself for leaving Alma and her husband and joining the war. Denis, who is depressed to the point of suicide, says:
Denis: I am not a Muslim, a father, a husband. I am nothing.
Jovanka: You’re alive.
Denis: And that is all.
Jovanka takes the pot off the stove and serves Denis.
Jovanka: Eat. It’s amazing what a little salt will do.
Denis: You are a good Bosnian.
Jovanka: And also a Serb.
Conflict has a way of bringing people together, and one can imagine discussions like this one in concentration camps where Jews had to come to grips with being forced away from their families and celebrating being alive even if they could not help but prefer to be dead. Denis and Jovanka have little trouble focusing on their similarities (both hungry, lonely, deserted, and fed up with war), rather than their differences as Serbs or Muslims.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at email@example.com.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.
It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.
Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.
The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?
Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.
Red By John Logan; directed by Robert Falls; starring Edward Gero and Patrick Andrews Jan. 20 – March 11, 2012 Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. http://www.arenastage.org One morning, Ken, Mark Rothko’s studio assistant, comes into the studio to fulfill his daily duties of stretching and priming his employer’s canvases. When he […]
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/is-there-a-theatrical-definition-of-never-again/2008/11/26/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: