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The signature Program of the New Voices Project is “The Enquiry” (Chakiyrah חֲקִירָה ), a half-day “total immersion” type event coordinated through university based Hillels, Holocaust Studies Centers, etc.
The Enquiry encompasses these elements:
A Song without Words (Nigun) — Introduction through music. Played on a Violin of Hope (a violin saved from the Holocaust) a new slow melody (doina) composed for this use.
In The Beginning — The Questions, an interactive quiz, getting to know what we don’t know.
Facing the Holocaust — Virtual reality experience, “confronting” Holocaust survivors and “images” of the Holocaust.
Resistance — Myths and realities
Respite — an interlude of humor about God’s “debate” with the angels: “Do you agree that we should make man in our image?” (a midrash, from the Talmud)
Finding Sense — Explorations (based on Sanhedrin 38b, the Talmud): And God replied (Isaiah 46:4) “Even to old age I will not change, and even to grey hair, I will still be patient.” (Genesis 6:5) “The Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth”
New Voices from Salvaged Words* — selected readings from the anthology New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting The Holocaust read by the authors involved.
Beginning Again — pledge of personal commitment, to bear witness as a New Voice.
Onward (Lech-Lecha) — let us go forward with music. Played on a Violin of Hope (a violin saved from the Holocaust) a new song with joy (freylekh) composed for this use.
*In her book Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust, Yaffa Eliach wrote about the noted Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz. To paraphrase, she stated that Rozewicz may have spoken for post-Holocaust generations to come when he wrote that he fashioned his poems “out of a remnant of words, salvaged words…”
The Violins of Hope. Played before and during the Holocaust, the Violins of Hope instruments have been painstakingly restored by Amnon Weinstein, a second generation master violin-maker, and so today serve as testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music.