The Enquiry

save-the-worldThe 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.

Image “Symbols: The World Entire,” by Amy Bartell. Used with permission. This poster is featured at Holocaust Museums internationally. The symbols represent some, but not all, of the ways the Nazis categorized WWII concentration camp prisoners.