"The essence of modern Judaism is not found in the answer to any one question, but in a continual wrestling with all of them."
To Life! Growing Up Jewish in America (manuscript) Script
When Omaha Theater Company requested a script about the Jewish-American experience for its teen/multicultural series, playwright Sandra Fenichel Asher decided to find out how her own years of growing up Jewish compared to those of young people in other areas of the country and at other times. Research included travel to Nebraska, Utah, Missouri, upstate New York and central Pennsylvania to lead multigenerational workshops where teenagers and adults wrote stories, poems and monologues out of their own experiences and responded to interviews. The script presents a life-story quilt created out of their words, plus those of American Jews from Colonial times to the 20th century, stitched together with traditional music, song, ritual and dance. As teenagers at a summer camp gather around their guitar-strumming rabbi after Shabbat services one Friday evening, they pose questions about Judaism and find so many answers, it seems as if there will never be one answer to anything at all. And, in fact, there never is. As the saying goes, one of them quips, Ask two Jews and you'll get three opinions. Life in America, where freedom offers more choices than ever before, complicates matters even further. What does living in a Jewish way mean in this time and place As the play recalls customs and situations ancient and modernefrom the High Holy Days to the humor of an impromptu lesson in the Yiddish language to the sensory delights of Shabbat dinner to the solemnity of a bar mitzvah ceremonyeit explores that question and its many answers while offering its ensemble actors unlimited creative possibilities. The essence of modern Judaism, the rabbi explains at last, is not found in the answer to any one question, but in a continual wrestling with all of them. Area staging. Approximate running time: 75 minutes.