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Yad LaYeled launches the “Theatre in the Museum” program


The “Theatre in the Museum” program at Yad LaYeled is underway


This new program puts emphasis on the availability of the content and the themes of the museum to visitors through theatre.  The components of the program include the play “Dance of Joy and Sorrow” and seven dramatized monologues throughout the museum’s exhibits, which are integrated into the visit.


Holocaust remembrance among young adults is an important goal that presents a complex challenge for educators.  The Yad LaYeled educational staff sees itself as an active partner in reaching this goal.  The museum’s exhibits, as well as the educational and artistic activities, are age appropriate for young visitors who are invited during this first meeting with the subject, to connect to and start a dialogue with Holocaust child survivors.  Art workshops accompany the educational activity in the exhibits of Yad LaYeled whose purpose is give the visitors an opportunity to process what they experienced through music, creative writing, plastic arts, movement and drama.


The “Theatre in the Museum” program was recently launched at the Yad LaYeled museum.  The program is geared for visitors from the upper elementary and middle school levels, as well as the general public, including soldiers, senior citizens, teachers and pre-service teachers. 


Since the opening of the museum in 1995, there have always been theatre performances based on testimonies of Holocaust child survivors. Three monodramas were produced throughout the years and were integrated into the educational program:


·        The play “Dance of Joy and Sorrow”, which is now in its third year, is performed three days a week and takes Lea Fried, a Holocaust survivor who saw her parents for the last time at the age of five, back to the stories, memories and experiences through memory boxes and personal possessions from the past.

·        The play “Aunt Lily’s Doll” is based on the story of Irna Livman, in which a Holocaust survivor, who possesses a doll from her childhood, meets a young Israeli girl who does not understand the obsession with the doll.  Through their meeting, the young girl learns about the world of the Holocaust survivors and their memories. The play was performed between the years 1995-2006.

·        The play “Mother, Mother Can You Hear?” is based on the testimony of the late Nehamka Rahav from her book To Live in Two Worlds.  Nehamka, who was a young girl in the Vilna Ghetto, was thrown into the arms of German soldiers by her mother and by this action saved.  Throughout the play, the hero of this story tries to find the answer and meaning behind her mother’s actions.  . The play was performed between the years 2003-2006.


The last two plays, which are not performed today, were integrated into the museum space and brought to life for children the silent reality with the exhibit displays.


In addition to the Ghetto Fighters’ House celebrating 61 years and in recognition of Yad LaYeled’s 15th year anniversary, the director of Yad LaYeled, Anat Carmel, who herself is an actress and director and studied art integration in education, thought it appropriate to give visitors an opportunity to deepen their understanding through dilemmas that arise when confronting the museum’s objects and artifacts.  Therefore, seven monologues of Holocaust child survivors were dramatized and are performed throughout the museum space by an actress as part of the guided tour of the exhibits.  The monologues focus on subjects such as losing one’s home, separation from parents, life in hiding and living under a false identity, as well as the signs of physical and emotional stress, intuition, life in deportation camps and the image of the rescuer.  According to Carmel, “We believe that the meeting of children with the stories of survivors of the Holocaust, who through their ability to cope and grow into adults built their future despite everything, helps to develop a positive outlook on life, a sensitivity to others and empathy for their behavior and strengthens humanistic education, an understanding of what it means to be human, and the audience’s connection and collective commemoration of Jewish history.  The “Theatre in the Museum” program, with all its components, reveals the world of those adults who today make sure that the subject of the Holocaust will never be forgotten even if the number of testifiers is disappearing from the stage of history.”

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