The following is an email sent to us by Sarah Groner, an Isreaeli who grew up in the DC area and now calls Tel Aviv home. She writes that her mom, a frequent attendee of Theater J, has been following the big to-do at Theater J surrounding “The Admission” and sharing the news. Sarah read our post about the Jaffa reading and decided to attend.
“I attended with a friend and found the play thought-provoking and well done. I did not find it “anti-Israel” or objectionable in anyway. I wanted to let you know that from where I sit, as an Israeli who works for peace, this play is an important portrayal of the personal and political conflicts that make up the tapestry of Israel.”
The following is a more formal statement Sarah’s written that, at her request and with with her permission, we post herein:
As an American-Israeli, I often find myself in between worlds. On the one hand, I have spent my entire adult life in Israel – studying, working, paying taxes and serving in Israel and of course, identifying as an Israeli. Yet on the other hand, I am still deeply tied to the issues facing the community that raised me, the community that instilled in me my deep Jewish identity.
It is out of these shared identities that I was intrigued to go see the live reading of “The Admission” last Friday in Jaffa. My mom has been keeping me informed of the drama that has been going on off stage at Theater J and I wanted to see what the commotion was about.
The reading, done in Hebrew in a packed local Arab-Israeli theatre, portrayed characters from the various parts of modern Israeli society. It included two families – one Jewish, one Arab – and followed the personal, familial and political conflicts that challenge both families. The play explored family secrets, legends, heartbreak and regret, feelings that are all too familiar for those of us who live day-to-day in this part of the world.
There were typical Jewish/Israeli narratives of sacrifice, renewal, strength and perseverance, as well as typical Palestinian narratives of loss, betrayal and bereavement. As someone who thinks about conflict resolution and the long road we are on to reconciliation with our neighbors, this play struck me as a thoughtful presentation of the many narratives in this conflict. The hackneyed saying of “those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it” rings true in the world in which I live, where there are people with different pasts and different experiences, but all are parties to the conflict, whether they like it or not. I fear that if we do not confront all perspectives and if we do not include all in the healing process, then this conflict will never be resolved. As an Israeli, I cannot say that watching the play was easy, but is that not why we view art? To challenge ourselves and expand our perspectives?
It is important for me to write this response and to share that this play portrays an honest and thought-provoking story. For many in the US, it may be difficult to come to grips with the reality of the conflict, and the pain experienced on all sides, but in order to help us heal we must be able to shine light on the past and learn lessons. I support “The Admission” and I think this play is an important work that I hope can lead to deeper understanding, acceptance and eventually peace.