from Professors Ellen Schiff and Michael Posnick

I am writing to convey my strong support of Theater J’s forthcoming reading and discussion of three performances about the Israeli incursion in Gaza. You and your colleagues are once again providing the community with the opportunity–indeed, with the necessity–to confront a burning contemporary issue in a forum that invites and respects the open exchange of opinion. The program is squarely in the admirable tradition Theater J has established for itself and a responsible performance of its mission. Initiatives like this one have earned Theater J deep respect in the theatre community, in the Jewish theatre world, in the academy, and among enlightened people everywhere.

Giving audiences the chance to see Caryl Churchill’s play and the artistic responses to it by Deb Margolin and Robbie Gringras is an irresistible invitation to reconsider generalizations and fixed opinions and test ideologies. It is a rare opportunity to step beyond the role of member of the audience and take on that of participant in a fresh examination of the issues. It is a way to recognize the crucial significance of what we “tell the children.”

That the very announcement of the program has been enough to provoke controversy is a testament to the power of theatre and a tribute to the courage of yours.

I salute you, Ari, and send you and your colleagues at Theater J my admiration and warm good wishes.

-Ellen Schiff
Professor Emerita, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

* * *

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field.
I will meet you there.

Joining Rumi and many others to lend support to Theater J’s efforts to clear a field for open, fearless discussion on this pain laden subject – and others that call out for our attention and action.

A precious field where all are welcome to share in the awe and compassion the theatre was made for.

All success to you in these unsettling and promising times.
Shalom rav, Michael

Professor Michael Posnick, Director
Department of Dance & Theatre
Manhattanville College
Purchase NY 10577