Nightwords, A Powerful Liturgy On The Holocaust,
Now Available With CLAL Commentary On Audiocassette
Tape Set Offers Unique CLAL Talks on Memory, Legacy and Ritual:
Linking the Past with the
Present to Help Commemorate Yom Hashoah
This year, to commemorate Yom
Hashoah, CLAL is honored to provide the bold, emotionally gripping piece, NIGHTWORDS: A
Liturgy on the Holocaust, on audiocassette.
Compiled by David G. Roskies, Ph.D., the two-tape set includes a recording
of the liturgy by CLAL faculty, and two thought-provoking talks on issues raised by the
work. On one, Rabbis Yitz Greenberg, CLAL President Emeritus, and Brad Hirschfield, CLAL
Vice President, discuss the role of ritual and the Holocaust in light of Jewish philosophy
and theology. On the other, Rabbi
Hirschfield, Shari Cohen, Ph.D., Director of CLALs Jewish Public Forum, and Richard
Schechner, Ph.D., Professor of Performance Studies at NYUs Tisch School of the Arts,
look at memory, legacy and the intergenerational experience of the Holocaust.
Acclaimed as one of the most
compelling contemporary spiritual responses to the Holocaust, NIGHTWORDS
provides a unique, charged experience which speaks to all ages. Known as both performance art and experiential
theater, it weaves together ancient and modern texts to create an unforgettable new
community ritual, sparking individual and communal responses that link past events to the
spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges of the present.
provides a way to understand the Holocaust through the generations, says Rabbi
Hirschfield. Much like the Jewish
Museums exhibit, Mirroring Evil, the liturgy moves beyond archive to
art. It asks the audience to become part of
the story and to take on the personas of the 36 witnesses all everyday people
of the horror. But more than just a
memory piece, NIGHTWORDS
is experiential it provides a ritual linking yesterday to today, is steeped in
Jewish tradition, and yet is accessible to younger people.
The liturgy, as described by Dr.
Roskies in his introduction, was created to mark Yom Hashoah the day of broken
covenants. It is the day of sanctioned
rage against God. He calls NIGHTWORDS a primer in this art of sacred parody,
and says its purpose is to give voice
to the outrage, to grant evil its due, and thereby contain it. It is intertwined in English, Yiddish and Hebrew,
invokes Biblical text, chanting, storytelling, and song, and concludes with the Kaddish
the prayer for the dead.
On Tape I (105 minutes), CLAL
faculty enacts the complete liturgy, playing all of the parts. The accounts given are true, and the piece bridges
time and Biblical and Jewish history from the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of
Isaac to the Warsaw uprising. Participants
are asked to interact in new rites created for honoring the Shoah. The tape may be
listened to on its own, used as part of a wider ritual, or utilized for demonstration. It includes all of the songs and prayers, with
correct pronunciation in Yiddish and Hebrew, and allows for easy access to the piece.
On Tape II (60 minutes), on one
side, Rabbis Greenberg and Hirschfield discuss NIGHTWORDS, and how it creates new memory and
moves beyond traditional Jewish liturgy. They
also address the theological and historical issues related to the creation and performance
of the work.
On the other, Drs. Schechner and Cohen and Rabbi Hirschfield discuss the
nature of memory and the relationship among liturgy, ritual, theater and art. The relationship between the individual and
collective or shared memory is also debated.
thought that it was important to create a tool that could be used privately or publicly to
mark Yom Hashoah, says Donna M. Rosenthal, Executive Vice President of CLAL.
There are no home rituals for the day. By
providing the tapes with CLAL faculty, we felt that people could better access a way of
remembering, as well as generate new conversations about the meaning and the experience of
the tragedy, both individually and communally.
To order the two-tape package NIGHTWORDS: A
Liturgy on the Holocaust, phone CLAL at
212-779-3300, ext.129. The price, including handling and mailing, is $12.
NIGHTWORDS provides both a way for people to
find themselves in the story of the Holocaust and to confront their own wrestling with the
tradition, states Rabbi Hirschfield. It
speaks to anyone confronting the enormity of evil while maintaining faith in life. The
tapes provide a new avenue for experience, in keeping with CLALs mission for close
to 30 years. Weve been leaders in
building vital Jewish life in an era of openness, but we must also bring that same
creativity to the moments of tragedy and loss.
is published by CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a
leader in the Jewish healing movement. To purchase a copy, print out and fax or
mail the order form below to CLAL. Or to place your order by phone contact CLAL at 212-779-3300
cost, per copy, is $12. Checks should be made out and sent to CLAL, 440 Park
Avenue South, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016.
NIGHTWORDS -- ORDER FORM
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(including postage). Payment by check (payable to CLAL) or credit card must
accompany all orders.
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(212)779-1009 (credit card orders only).
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Fl., NY, NY 10016-8012.
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