Fundraising and our Responses (and a dialogue that keeps going and going…!)

We end our fiscal year this week and we’ve sent out an email to that effect (many of you have received it, no doubt). There’s a form to contribute on line and we encourage you to do so! We’ve been getting responses. Here’s the most meaningful so far:

>>Ari –
I just made a $500 contribution to Theatre J. This is the first time that I have made a donation to any theatre or arts organization. I have been a subscriber to Theatre J for many years, and appreciate the high quality of the plays. I chose to donate because I want to support your courage and artistic integrity in bringing plays that help us probe the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You have not flinched, despite some small-minded criticisms from some within the Jewish community. Thank you for helping us all think and feel more deeply about that issue, among all other issues, as you bring theatre to life for us.

– Debbie Goldman

I hope others may be so inspired to help us out. Debbie’s contribution brings us closer to our goal, but we still have well over a dozen more gifts like Debbie’s to go before we balance.

Know that we’ve also gotten some negative responses. Two, as a matter of fact. I’ll share just one.

No, you have gone to a blend I cannot blend with. I am extremely for the survival of Israel and that will not happen from two states. So, count me out.

To which I responded:

“I appreciate you taking the time to write. Are you really against our President’s plan in the Middle East? I’m for it, in support of Israel, of course, and a two-state solution.
I hope you don’t boycott our theater because we support the President’s direction and wish for Israel to continue to thrive as a democratic, Jewish state.”

And I offered her an opportunity to see THE SEAGULL, which I explained a little bit.
Her reply:

“I do not want your free tickets. There is no such thing as supporting Israel and supporting a two state solution. A Palestinian State would be there just to continue to push Israel into the sea. I have been told that personally, even by the asst. director of the Islamic school in POtomac. That kind of thinking is like I support our troops , but what they are doing stinks. You cannot have it both ways.

I do appreciate your taking the time to answer me. I really believe that you believe you are right. I wish you could be, but I do not think so. Years ago, I thought so, but not any more.

Also, I do not think your president supports Israel in any way nor does he support the democracy of the United States of America. You might think I am crazy and I wish I were, but i believe Obama wants the destruction of both countries.

* * *

But wait, there’s more:

I am so glad you would like to keep up a dialogue. Many people just say, “If you do not agree with me, I want nothing to do with you!” I love debate. I am almost 74 yrs old and the older I get the more opinionated I get, the feistier I and either the braver I get or the crazier I get, but i express my thoughts, feelings and opinions very openly. MY grandchildren tell me that , sometimes I am=2 0embarrassing, but I am fun! So far, I love that the president will disagree with me. I certainly disagree with him.
Thanks for the discussion. I am open to hear any other opinions you may have.

My response:

Good for you…. We’ll keep up a good debate on a great many subjects. I think the President needs our support–just like your favorite Jewish theater does. Even when you get mad at both, know that we’re trying our best to do what’s right. And Theater J will not get very far thinking about or offering destructive solutions or destructive narratives about the State of Israel or our own inter-relations here at home.

I think it’s good for us to have a little optimism, both about those who disagree with us inside our own community, and across the border as well. History teaches us to be distrustful of our enemies, to be sure. But we’ve also seen remarkable progress in the world between peoples who once were subjected to hate, derision, racism. So our theater wants to keep up the hope, even when looking in some dark corners.
All best,

And finally, hers (most remarkably, referencing the incendiary PANGS OF THE MESSIAH!)

Remember the play you had (can’t remember the name) about the religious jewish family in the settlements and each family member had a different take on what was going on? The father wound up killing himself. The mother wanted to get out of there, etc. The simple son couldn’t undertand why they destoyed his house, etc. It showed many different outlooks within one family. I loved that play and its message.