Rosh Hashana – Avraham’s holiday
Written by Sharon Katz
The Rosh Hashana Torah reading of the first day begins exactly where the hit biblical musical “COUNT THE STARS” ends – the miraculous birth of Yitzchak, son of Avraham and Sara, born to them in their old age.
Our matriarch Sara was remembered on Rosh Hashana, and she became a mother at the age of 90. Avraham was 100 years old. Yitzchak’s birth was the first step in the fulfillment of G-d’s promise, “To your seed I will give this land.” And now after trials and tribulations, our patriarch celebrated a true personal victory, the birth of a son who would carry on his legacy.
And what is that legacy? Exactly what we read in our Rosh Hashana prayers – recognizing Hashem as King over all creation. Avraham took this a step further by influencing others to recognize His Glory and Majesty, as well.
“COUNT THE STARS” begins with Avram’s rejection of idol worship and follows his desire to teach all those around him the greatness of a caring G-d, whose ways we must emulate. While that may not seem like typical musical theatre, in fact its inspirational story, spectacular songs and rousing dance numbers combine to bring audiences to their feet in exhilaration and applause.
Story in Song
In the musical, by the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem in partnership of OU Israel, Avram and Sara dance and sing Broadway-style, as they encourage their students to “step into the light” and change their lives for the better. Later, Avram is shocked as a barber-shop-quartet of merchants reveal the sins of Sodom. A symphony plays, as Avram is told Hashem’s promise to “Count the stars if you can; so shall your seed be.” And Avraham’s students tap dance when travelers/angels come to Avraham’s tent, and since he is suddenly able to fulfill his passion of hospitality, Avraham’s “looking great, because he has guests again.”
Following Avraham’s Ways
On Rosh Hashana, we are given the formula to overturn an evil decree – “repentance, prayer and charity”. Charity, giving to others, caring for others is epitomized by our Father Avraham. Avraham spent his life searching for opportunities to demonstrate his loving-kindness to others. Such qualities heal a broken world, build a better tomorrow and insure a blessed new year.
“COUNT THE STARS” dancers may perform a kick line, as they recall Avraham’s quest for justice and good, but their message is sincere. The students of Avraham called out, “If there is good that needs doing, we will do it,” while not missing a beat. The Rosh Hashana Torah reading says that when Yitzchak was weaned, “Avraham made a great feast on the day…” and so ends our show with the kings of Canaan regally dancing around Avraham and Sara, and finally recognizing G-d’s miracles and His “Malchuyot” / reign as the true King.
The cast and crew of “COUNT THE STARS” wish everyone a Shana Tova, and invite women everywhere to see “COUNT THE STARS” – November 28 & 30, December 4 & 6 – in the Gerard Behar Theatre. Tickets: tixwise.co.il/he/countthestars
Photo Credits Rebecca Kowalsky, Images through Time, www.imagesthroughtime.com