Charged to Life a play to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day


19 April 2004 A group of 12 boarding school students, aged 13 to 14, from ORT Yad Lvovich in Netanya, have taken their play ‘Charged to Life’ to Belgium and France. The play tells the poignant story of children hidden during the Holocaust. The European tour took place through the initiative of the Chair of ORT Belgium, Andrea Wine. ORT Yad Lvovich, one of ORTs earliest schools, was established in 1949 and is located in Netanya. The school has over 1,500 students including 120 who are accommodated in dormitory facilities. Many of the schools students come from families at a low socio-economic level while others have severe social problems. Yad Lvovich prides itself in helping each individual student to achieve his or her own potential. The Yad Lvovich (boarding school) Theatre Group has been in existence for five years. Students involved in the group learn about all disciplines of the theatre through reading and studying existing scripts as well as writing their own scripts, watching performances and purchasing props and other equipment for their performances. The study of drama at the school is a form of therapy for students, many of whom come from difficult family backgrounds and have been affected by terror. Previous performances by the group include Hypocrite about an Ethiopian immigrant in Israel and Beautiful Moments depicting how students deal with terror. Charged to Life, written by the students, is set during the Holocaust and was created as an educational tool for the study of the Holocaust. It revolves around 12 children hiding in the forest from the Nazis, all with a different story to tell. One of the children is on the run after being pushed from the train (leading to deportation) by his parents, while another has been hidden by a non Jewish doctor who was confronted by the Nazis with a demand to expose hidden Jewish children or give up his own children. The doctor faces the dilemma of sending the hidden children into danger or sacrificing his own children. The story offers an insight into moral ethics and group dynamics when faced with a dangerous and terrifying situation. The Yad Lvovich students commenced their European tour of Charged to Life on 22nd April at cole ORT in France and went on to perform for junior and senior school students at Jewish schools in Antwerp and Brussels, as well as for the Brussels Jewish community. The students also took their play to a local Brussels school, providing an opportunity for non-Jewish students to be exposed to this important educational tool. Many of the theatre students are new immigrants who have become integrated into Israeli society. One of the students taking part was involved in a terrorist attack on his way home from school when an Arab terrorist shot and killed the driver of the car in which he was travelling. This student survived by pretending that he was dead.