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From Masada to Birthright: a Broadway drama in two acts

TJI Pick
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Published: 16 November 2017

Last updated: 5 March 2024

NEW YORK playwright Nathaniel Sam Shapiro wondered about what there is to glorify in an act of mass suicide.

So he resolved to take on a challenge. “I wanted to explore an alternative Masada story,” he recounts, “one that didn’t disappoint me or cause me confusion and shame.”

Masada wasn’t the only event in Jewish history to leave Shapiro in this state of mind. The 28-year-old New Yorker has long taken issue with what he describes as the “one-sided and simplistic” way the story of modern Israel is presented to Jewish Americans of his generation.

And this tendency to gloss over some of the not-so-pleasant facts, he says, is nowhere more evident than in what has become a rite of passage for young Jewish Americans in the 21st century: the free Birthright trip to Israel.

FULL STORY Birthright off Broadway: new play to take on diaspora Jews and the Masada story (Haaretz)

Photo: Nathaniel Sam Shapiro

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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