This Sunday, November 11, join us for an afternoon of reflections on suffering, resilience, and identity.

80 years after the violent attacks against German Jews known as Kristallnacht, Rabbi Andrea Cohen Kiener of Temple Israel presents an afternoon of reflections on suffering, resilience, and identity. We will come together to tell stories of those times, through the lens of all that has happened since and the moment we live in today. Join us for an illuminating and challenging study on trauma, healing, justice, and empathy.

Schedule of Events

All are welcome to join for all or part of this afternoon. Suggested donation of $10-40.
  • 2:00-3:15 p.m Introduction to the life and theology of Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto. Text study led by Rabbi Andrea Cohen Kiener and Maggid David Arfa.
  • 3:15-3:30 p.m. Break and snacks
  • 3:30-5:30 p.m. The Jar of Tears: A Memorial for the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto. A storytelling performance by Maggid David Arfa followed by audience reflection on Rabbi Shapiro's "theology of weeping."
  • 5:30-6:00 p.m. Light supper
  • 6:00-8:00 p.m. Screening of Who Will Write Our History? Followed by reflections, closing with Mourner's Kaddish

Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro

An anchoring character for our program on Sunday is Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro, also known as the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto. You can read about his life on Wikipedia. Rabbi Kalonymus struggled with maintaining faith and humanity in the darkest of times, and his teachings on spirituality and hope are illuminating in all times. Rabbi Andrea and Maggid David Arfa will lead a text study on his work.

The Jar of Tears

The Jar of Tears is a full length storytelling performance by Maggid David Arfa based on the life and words of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro. Rabbi Shapiro wrote sermons while confined in the ghetto and slowly developed a creative theology of weeping. He buried his sermons in a milk jug, and though the Rabbi did not survive the war, his sermons did. These sermons portray his depth and unflinching honesty as he strove with all his heart to remain connected with the Ribono Shel Olam, the Master of the World.

Maggid David writes: "Rabbi Shapiro expands the notion of resistance for me, expanding the circle way beyond physical revolt. I see his work as active, fierce resistance of the strongest kind. Using the power of his pen; of his speech, he named his deepest truths. This became the shield that prevented destruction from within, for him and for his community whom he spiritually nourished." The Jar of Tears won the Cohen Center's Hildebrandt Award for its artistic excellence, technical mastery and depth of vision.

Read the Greenfield Recorder's spotlight on Maggid David!

Who Will Write Our History?

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Based on Sam Kassow's historical research, Who Will Write our History is written, produced and directed by Roberta Grossman and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg. Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and stunning dramatizations to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon - the truth - and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not.

Teaser for Who Will Write Our History?

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Many thanks to them.
Copyright © 2018 Temple Israel, All rights reserved.

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