NATIONAL JEWISH THEATER FOUNDATION
National Jewish Theater Foundation/National Jewish Theater
Arnold Mittelman, President – Producing Artistic Director
2127 Brickell Avenue
For more information on our Productions including The Soap Myth (play and film), Rothschild &Sons -musical, Programs, and Holocaust Theater International Initiative, please visit website: njtfoundation.org.
Since 2007, funded by private donations and foundations, the National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF) (/https://www.njtfoundation.org) has created and presented internationally, numerous theatrical works that advanced its mission of celebrating the richness of Jewish theatrical heritage and cultural identity. Major works included premieres and international tours of musical productions honoring both George and Ira Gershwin, Sholom Aleichem and Rothschild & Sons.
In 2010, responding to loss of living survivors, programmatic vacuum and growing antisemitism, NJTF leaders created the Holocaust Theater International Initiative (HTII). Whose mission is to use the unique powers of theater to educate and raise Holocaust awareness. NJTF HTII is led by a renowned Advisory Board and NJTF President Arnold Mittelman, serving as NJTF HTII Founding Director. In 2017, HTII became part of the University of Miami Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. HTII is the only university-based program in the world focusing solely on research, education and production of Holocaust related theater.
NJTF HTII is comprised of three interrelated programs: Holocaust Theater Research, Holocaust Theater Education and Holocaust Theater Production.
(1) Holocaust Theater Research (HTR). HTII created the Holocaust Theater Catalog (HTC), the first of its kind, online catalog containing the names of plays in all languages from 1933 to the present. Intended for students, scholars, theater artists, teachers and the general public, this dynamic and ever expanding catalog of over 950 selected titles with over 5,500 related entries and curated collection of learned articles can be accessed, free of charge, thru a public website online at http://htc.miami.edu . HTII staff and Advisory board members (led by Holocaust theater scholar Dr. Alvin Goldfarb), theater artists, translators and researchers work to identify the existence of these plays, many available only in foreign languages. Play information available on line for research, translation, readings/production.
(2) Holocaust Theater Education (HTE) develops theatrically related curricula, courses and exercises for use at the primary, secondary and higher education levels. HTE, with USC Shoah Foundation, developed and disseminated – through Shoah IWitness program “What I’ve Scene” the only theatrical activity on IWitness platform. It uses verbatim Holocaust survivors’ testimony as the basis for a classroom theatrical exercises available to thousands of teachers worldwide. HTE develops innovative ways to reach students with programs that convey not only the history of the Holocaust but its relationship to the contemporary challenges facing young people. In 2021, HTE staff and UK based Holocaust Education Trust (HET)– responsible for Holocaust curricula in the United Kingdom, ran a professionally and positively evaluated pilot program using its pioneering techniques for students and teachers in UK middle schools. 2023 plans include UK HET teacher training institute and new programs with JCCA of North America.
Ground breaking book
In 2020, NJTF HTII educational consultant Mira Hirsch, NJTF HTII Advisory member Janet Rubin and Arnold Mittelman, co-authored book, Enacting History: A Practical Guide to Teaching the Holocaust through Theater, published by UK based Routledge Press. Enacting History is practical guide for educators and students. Aimed to serve all teachers and students of the Holocaust without theater training, it provides methodologies and resources for teaching and learning about Holocaust through a variety of theatrical means, including scripted texts, verbatim testimony, devised theater techniques and process-oriented creative exercises.
(3) Holocaust Theater Production (HTP) features annual Remembrance Day Play Readings (RR) and performances of Holocaust plays, scenes, monologues and verbatim testimony selected by participants from the Holocaust Theater Catalog. They are held in honor of Kristallnacht, International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Yom HaShoah. Remembrance Readings do not require lengthy rehearsals, expensive production values and have involved theaters, artists, educators and memorial museums. They can be done in modest or elaborate settings by diverse participants of all ages. Remembrance Readings have been done by very experienced actors to those with limited or no formal theater training.
Future Remembrance Readings will feature collaborations between members of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Alliance for Jewish Theater (AJT), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), American Alliance for Theater and Education (AATE), Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCCA) and international Association for Holocaust Organizations (AHO).
For more information on our productions, projects, and the holocaust theatre initiative, please visit our website: njtfoundation.org.