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These days with social media videos, blogs, articles, you-tubes and memes coming our way, we have the advantage of receiving lots of support from others. We also get information about current events, opinions and passions of other people. The downside is that sometimes we can become desensitized to important values, ideas and suffering of others, simply because we are on media overload. But occasionally, in spite of the avalanche of material coming our way, a particular missive affects us in such a profound way that we are surprised. It sits with us, stays with us, and we just can’t get our minds off of it. We relate to its theme. We get it, and we instinctively want to share it with all our friends.
This morning when I watched a taped play performance called, “The Shabbos List,” written by Lisa K. Winkler, I was riveted to the screen and related to the themes brought out by the story. “The Shabbos List” is about a Jewish family whose son goes to Israel on a BirthRight trip for two weeks vacation, and returns as an Orthodox practicing Jew, with full religious convictions. His family, who is not religious, has a hard time accepting their son’s metamorphasis, and his many new and strange restrictions. The story is about the conflict that ensues. Inner conflicts of the various characters are explored as each work through their own issues as mirrored through their son.
Lisa Winkler, writer, blogger, journalist, mom, grandmother, cyclist, knitter, is a friend of mine, which is why I took the time to watch it. I’m so glad I did. The play moved me and would likely touch others like me who are moms, grandmothers, sisters and brothers, Jewish or non-Jewish. I think all who grasp the complexity of raising children to adulthood and watching the generation below us mature in the ways that they do will appreciate the universal message in this story. Our job is to raise our children to the best of our abilities, with all our resources. Good genes, good schools, good friends, good influences are all part of the picture. But at the end of the day, all the helicoptering that we do doesn’t help; our children do not do everything we want them to do, or turn out as carbon copies of us. Nor do we want them to be.
I identified with the parents, and empathized with the younger generation. As parents we have visions and dreams for our children, whether we realize it consciously or not. These dreams may reflect what they carry through in their lives, or may not, but what about those kids who do follow their parents’ dreams and then regret it?
Happily, that wasn’t the situation in Lisa’s play, which made it a perfect play for me. One with an upbeat and positive tone, while exploring some real imperfections in attitude that we, as parents may sometimes have.
The play ran for three days in mid-July in Manhattan, and since I live on the West Coast, I missed it. Luckily, I was able to see the video viewing, and look forward to the show eventually coming out to LA or other cities. It would be a special experience for me to see this play live on stage with the same or new actors. The actors did a great job with their roles, with the help of a really good script.
Lisa, a first time playwright, may have found her calling. This is a story that should be seen.
For more information, contact Lisa at her Cycling Grandma Blog.
Tags: birthright, children's choices, Judaism, lisa winkler, Orthodox, shabbos list