These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

My two loves: Torah and Theater

Posted on April 24, 2012 by Leah Stern

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My life in Israel this year has been amazing. I’ve been so lucky to make new friends, learn new things, and experience everything that is Israel.

Most of my day is spent at Pardes, where I’ve had to opportunity to learn with faculty and peers about everything Jewish, from the tefillot in the siddur to Masechet Ketubot. But most people don’t know what I do most days of the week after 5 o’clock, where I am transported to a entirely different world.

When I was abroad in 2010 at Hebrew University, I had the opportunity to participate in Hillel Theatre Workshop’s production of Beauty and the Beast. I had begun to dance at age 3, but didn’t discover how much I loved acting till my senior year of high school. In college, there was no musical theater, so I had no opportunity to pursue my newly found love. Finally, I had that chance while at Hebrew University. I got very involved in the production way beyond acting, singing, and dancing. I did PR for the production, helped with scenery, went shopping for costumes and props. Of course, I made a great new group of friends who became my family, as anyone knows who has ever participated in a theater production. When the show was over, I cried for a week. I then went back to my director and said, “Michael, I promise you that after I graduate, I am going to come back and do another show.”

When the opportunity came up after college for me to go back to Israel to be at Pardes, I jumped at it, not just because I wanted to spend time studying Torah, but because I knew I would have the chance to fulfill my promise to Michael and to myself. Since January, I have been back at Hebrew University rehearsing for our spring production of the musical, Guys and Dolls. It has been amazing to be back in the theatre doing what I love, being with my old friends, and making new ones. Our first show is on May 10th and it is crazy how fast time has flown by. My day is spent at Pardes from 8:30 till 5, when I immediately leave to go to Mount Scopus to rehearse until 10:30. My days are crazy and full, but I love it that way. I’ve spent the year devoting myself to my two loves, Torah and Theater. I hope that you’ll be able to join me to see how my labor of love has grown into a phenomenal theater production filled with great actors, singers, and dancers. Join us for a night of great fun, great laughs, and most of all, great theater!!!