The girls acting in the Sderot Community Theater play, Noar Sderat HaKasam (“Youth of the Qassam Way”), traveled this week to Gush Etziyon to watch the play, “In Search of Courage,” performed by Gush Etziyon women’s theater; The Raise Your Spirits Summer Stock Company. The play focused on different Jewish women in the Bible who exhibited courage in perilous situations. The Sderot girls were so motivated by the play’s message, that afterwards they held discussion about how they deal the with the complicated realities of living in Sderot. The girls also realized the power in sharing and raising awareness of their own personal experiences through the theater.
The girls left Sderot on Tuesday afternoon to see the play, and were very excited. The Sderot girls are participants of a new theater group established by Sderot Media Center, whose goal is to show Israel and the world, the way of life in Sderot, especially that of teenage girls living under constant rocket fire. The girls understand the importance of Israeli “Hasbara” (public diplomacy) and some take part in the different “Hasbara” groups in Sderot, such as part of the City Youth Group.
Toby Greenwald, the director of “In the Search of Courage” invited the Sderot group to the play. During the play, the girls were particularly touched by the play’s major theme–courage–an issue which they deal with every day in Sderot. The play tells the story of different courageous Jewish women throughout history and the different inner conflicts that each of them face. In some of the scenes, there are debates over the meaning of courage. For example, the Biblical figures of Queen Esther from the Book of Esther and Dina, the daughter of Jacob, debated if they should renounce themselves for the good of their people.
The songs and dances swept everyone away into the world of real Jewish courage. “The costumes were ravishing” said Stav after the performance ended. “I want us to dance like that as well” added Asif.
As the girls began gathering ideas, Debby Gross, the project psychologist stated: “For some of the girls this is the first time they have ever gone to a play, and this raises their motivation for the future”.
Nechama Monk, the social worker of the project said: “I see how excited they all are and it excites me as well. Furthermore, the visit was important to the bonding of the girls who are gradually getting to know one another. During the treatment and rehearsal periods back in Sderot, there will be more different activities to unify the group and create a feeling of togetherness,” added Munk.
“The importance of an integrated group is that it contributes to the motivation of each girl to participate, to work better together as a group and to be more dedicated to it in the future. Even now, after just a few therapy meetings, you could already see them beginning to bond. The girls feel the need to produce a show which is both therapeutic and informative. I am sure that in a few months people will be watching the girls, and we might even invite the Gush Etziyon’s women’s theater to watch us,” finishes Munk.