Dramatizing the Torah

The Torah reading in most synagogues is inaccessible, the author says, and needs to be "livened up" through the use of drama and performance art.

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To improve upon the present condition, we must begin to experiment with alternatives. Some congregations might want to close their humashim andtry literally to recreate the classical practice by following each verse in the Hebrew with a public, verbal translation in English. If this method is too foreign, or too disruptive, a congregation might instead experiment with reading an aliyah in English once in a while, with appropriate chanting. Or, for a more radical change, it might be possible to offer a dramatic presentation of some of the stories in Genesis, with multiple voices speaking for the various characters. This could even be done in Hebrew. The introduction of different voices with different dramatic inflections would bring the event to life even if individual words are not understood.

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Dr. David Kraemer

Dr. David Kraemer is Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a Senior CLAL Associate at the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.