The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh occurred exactly one week after our last performance at FringeNYC in October of 2018. When the tragedy occurred, we were flooded with messages about how important a play like Observance is in times like these. Several people mentioned specifically that the character Jim’s monologue came to mind after the incident.
We as Jews have been subject to hatred and persecution for thousands upon thousands of years and antisemitism is still alive all over the world. We are a minority and we need to be a unified front. If we do not accept each other, how can we expect the rest of the world to accept us? If observant Jews turn against from their own families because they practice differently from them, we will never have peace.
With tragedies like Pittsburgh and Poway, a story like Observance is especially relevant and necessary.
We started Ahava Theatre Company because we want to spark conversation, break down barriers, challenge the status quo, and defy Jewish stereotypes. We are passionate about bridging the gap between secular and observant Jews and creating a more inclusive world. We are committed to building new work that values collaboration and creativity at its core.
Our goal is to produce professional theatre in NYC and pay all of our artists a living wage while keeping tickets at an affordable price. We are completely dependent on your generosity to make this happen.
Your generous contribution will go towards the Off-Broadway production of Observance by Elyssa Nicole Trust. We have been accepted into a competitive residency program, and all we need is the money to make it happen. The contract under which we produce this show will allow for everyone involved in the production to receive a living wage as well a pension and health insurance.
If you'd like to send a check, please email us at for our address. You may also donate using the link below.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Observance is about a Ba’al Teshuvah, a non-religious Jewish person who returns to G-d and becomes traditionally observant. The play takes an empathetic approach to both Orthodox and secular Judaism, and shows the vital role women play in the Jewish religion. The play is uniquely sympathetic towards Orthodoxy in a time when religious Jews are often depicted negatively in film and literature. There are significantly more stories about people looking to leave the religious community than those looking to join it, and we frequently see heartbreaking stories about intolerable behavior in these communities, specifically towards women. Observance, on the other hand, sheds a positive light on religious Judaism and illustrates the reasons why a woman would find meaning and joy in becoming more observant.
Observance takes the stance that one’s relationship with Judaism isn’t all or nothing, and that there are no right answers. There is a Judaism for everyone who wants to be a part of a community, and there are places to practice in the way that makes the most sense to the individual.
Observance is about finding balance and acceptance in one another, even if we disagree or have difficulty understanding contrasting points of view. In our ever-changing world that seems to become more divisive everyday, this story is an important one that needs to be told.
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