— the dybbukast —
What do novels, mythological narratives, poems, plays, and lyrics from throughout history tell us about the times in which they were created? And what do they reveal about the forces still at play in our contemporary societies?
Jewish communities, for a good deal of recorded time, have been spread across much of the globe, often existing as minority groups within a variety of dominant cultures. As such, the stories, songs, and performances created, read, and listened to in these communities can provide glimpses into the ways in which people navigate challenging social, political, and cultural waters.
Through a combination of performed readings and interviews with artists and scholars, The Dybbukast brings these creations and their historical contexts to life, all while revealing their relationships to issues still present today.
New episodes are released on the second Friday of the month.
episode 1: "I-Tell-You"
This first episode, presented in collaboration with Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), features selections from a children's play found in I-Tell-You, a 1926 religious school journal from Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. The episode also includes essays from the publication written by both students and clergy.
Scholar Miriam Heller Stern, PhD, National Director, School of Education and Associate Professor of HUC-JIR, helps us unpack the journal’s meaning and what it has to say about education, assimilation, cultural expression of identity, and the complications of community.
Hosted by Aaron Henne
Scholarship provided by Miriam Heller Stern, PhD
Edited by Mark McClain Wilson
Theme music composed by Michael Skloff and produced by Sam K.S.
I-Tell-You Learning Resources
Learn more about:
• Find Jonathan Sarna’s American Judaism: A History, referenced in the episode
Hebrew Union College is North America’s premier institution of Jewish higher education and the center for professional leadership development of Reform Judaism.
HUC-JIR’s School of Education is at the vanguard of progressive Jewish educator preparation, guided by rigorous research and field-shaping thought leadership.
In episode 1, we featured portions of essays from the 1926 religious school journal I-Tell-You as well as the short play The Little Hasmoneans (also found in the journal) intercut with commentary by Dr. Miriam Heller Stern. We thought you might like to hear a continuous performance of the play and one of the student essays in full. Please enjoy the essay "How I Got My Name" by Henrietta B. Stein (grade 12) and The Little Hasmoneans, a seven page play in three acts.
Also From Our Artists
Once you’ve listened to The Little Hasmoneans in “I-Tell-You,” we invite you to enjoy another theatrical interpretation of the Hanukkah story from theatre dybbuk artist Leslie K. Gray. Leslie’s Living Lights – which she created, designed, and directed for her company Triumvirate Pi Theatre – is an all ages shadow puppet production set to music without dialogue. You can see clips of its 2011 presentation at the Skirball Cultural Center in the video below.
Thank you to the Covenant Foundation for its support of The Dybbukast and related educational resources.