Friday, April 19, 2013

Rediscovering Efrat's Past with a Living Museum

Naomi and Ruth tell of their trials upon their return to Bethlehem from Moav
My hometown of Efrat has just celebrated its 30th anniversary on these rolling Gush Etzion hills. So, it's natural that we look back at our beginnings three decades ago, and at at the growth of our town, our population, and even our positive influence on Israeli society. Efrat residents have many reasons to be proud, B"H.
Efrat's story, however, did not begin 30 years ago on these hill, or almost 100 years ago when Shmuel Holtzman purchased land here. 
Efrat in Jewish History
Abraham and Sarah
Our Jewish presence on these rolling hills stretches back to our patriarchs and matriarchs, Ruth and Naomi, King David, the Chashmonaim, Bar Kochbar, and yes, forward into time to the modern Jewish resettlement of this area, Shmuel Holtzman, Moshko (Moshe Moskowitz), Rabbi Riskin and our residents today.
An exciting way to teach residents the history of their town is through a Living Museum. A Living Museum portrays life and historical events through performance.
I proposed one last year when we began planning Efrat's 30th Anniversary. The Living Museum would make Efratians more familiar with their note-worthy history, and foster in our residents an even great connection to our beautiful city. 

Boaz, Naomi and Ruth
This year's Efrat's 30th anniversary celebration was a perfect time to launch Efrat's LIVING MUSEUM. The Efrat Community Center's director Neta Magen and Local Council staffer Keren Claster were very supportive of the project, and helped make it happen.

Our Patriarchs Slept Here?? 
Jacob, little Benjamin and Rachel
This year's living museum explored our earliest roots here through conversations between Abraham and Sarah; Jacob, Rachel and Benjamin; Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. Hundreds of adults and children were able to meet our historical ancestors, hear their stories and even photograph with them. It was a humongously fun part of our celebrations.
I was excited to write, produce and direct Efrat's Living Museum program. Our Living Museum performers were Abraham - Betzalel Yablochnik, Sarah - Aviva Danziger Cohen, Rachel - Noa Choritz, Jacob - Brian Choritz, Benjamin - Akiva Choritz, Boaz - Peter Abelow, Ruth Bati Katz and Naomi - me (Sharon Katz).
Costumes were provided by the collections of the Raise Your Spirits Theatre, Noa Choritz and Sharon Katz.
Everyone wanted photos
with our Biblical figures
This year's Living Museum is only the beginning. IY"H, I hope we'll be able to expand it every year, introduce new Biblical and historical figures, and include more Efratians in this exciting program, where history and creativity come together. IY"H, I'm hoping its success will one day encourage communities throughout Israel to show their pride and their deep roots in their own towns.

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