Organization: Embrace Community Programs, New York, NY
Grant Year: 2023
Project Director: Sage Ramadge
Type of Grant: Ignition
Grant Amount: $20,000 (1 year)
Embrace Community Programs – To enhance the Shabbat Show program through curriculum expansion and the pilot of a weeklong camp in order to empower children to co-create original theatrical performances based on Jewish stories.
What was the inspiration for the Shabbat Show?
The concept for the Shabbat Show came from one of Embrace Co-Founder Naomi Sage’s fondest memories of Jewish summer camp, which was a weekly performance of the Torah portion, performed by the camp staff. The performances were always funny and a wonderful way to learn Jewish stories. The Shabbat Show is inspired by this camp tradition, but in our program the kids do the performing themselves, creating a fun, age-appropriate, and experiential avenue to learn about Shabbat and Jewish stories. When we learned of the co-creation model that our partners from Creative Stage use to engage children in performing arts, we saw a perfect opportunity to create the new program together.
How does the Shabbat Show’s co-creation process highlight children’s voices and perspectives?
During the Shabbat Show workshops and rehearsal sessions, children are learning Jewish stories and traditions through a range of activities like readings, discussion, watching videos, or arts and crafts, which show them a variety of ways to interpret these stories. From there, using improv games and building on their own imaginations, the ideas for the comedic performances are developed by the children themselves using the themes and ideas they are learning together. In addition to the weekly sessions with the Shabbat Show team, the children take their learning home to share with their families, connecting the lessons they are learning with their family life, and reviewing the material together.
What’s the funniest scene you’ve seen kids perform during a show?
One of the funniest scenes from our Hanukkah performance in December was the “Latke Larry” scene, which included a variety of Hanukkah related puns and jokes, as well as a song that the children performed to the tune of the “Cantina” scene in Star Wars. The kids, teachers, and family members were all singing along to the song during the performance and afterward.