Minnesota Attractions

Minnesota Jewish Theater

The history and work of the Minnesota Jewish Theater

Minnesota jewish theater It is in our diversity that we make the world a better place. Can you imagine of a world where everyone thought the same way, behaved in the same manner, dressed in the same style, same race, I mean, everything was alike? The world would have been a boring place to be. There would be no spirit of adventure, innovations would not be as frequent and so many other things would be missing. The diversity of ideas and cultures makes the world a better place.

When one culture differs from the other that is when one develops the interest of knowing what makes the other accomplish things the way they prefer to do them. These are some of the thoughts that paced through the mind of the Producing Artistic Director, Barbara Brooks’ mind as she thought about the future of her Jewish culture.

Barbara thought so hard about advancing her cultural heritage to the next generation. She had just given birth to her son and was worried about his identity as he grew up. She kept on asking herself how her son would grow into a Jew in a foreign land and still relate with his non-Jew friends without any fuss. These are some of the reasons that led to the birth of the Minnesota Jewish Theatre. With a degree in music from Vassar College, Brooks came to Minnesota in pursuit of a graduate degree in Music therapy at the University of Minnesota. After that she started appearing in musicals and plays in the eastern and western parts of the state. She also got the opportunity to teach in the St.Paul Public schools.

It is during this period that she came to the realization that the opportunities for people to interact and learn about each others culture were very few in comparison to her native city of New York. This is when the decision to have a theatre devoted to the culture of the Jewish ways was made and a theatre developed. All the Jews in Minnesota who had earlier felt detached from their roots now had the opportunity to reconnect. Financial support for the theatre has steadily come from numerous people and institutions that are dedicated to preserving Jewish culture and to carry the culture and practices on to the next generation, with a few laughs of course.

As its recognition grows beyond borders, groups from public and private schools, churches, community organizations and synagogues, both the Jews and non-Jews constantly visit the theatre to get a piece of the marvelous work that goes on. The Hillcrest Center Theatre which is located in the highland area of St.Paul is the venue for most the shows. The one hundred and forty nine seats in the center are booked most of the time and from their arrangement, close to the stage, the audiences are served the very best of Jewish entertainment. To enhance accessibility of the theatre’s work, the shows are at times rotated to other venues close to the interested persons.

The Minnesota Jewish theatre has also designed forums, lectures, and symposia that gives insights to the subject and human issues addressed, and in order to broaden the understanding of the plays that are presented to the audience. They have also developed an initiative that taps into new plays that are based on the Jewish culture and also enlightening the common humanity among all people. The Wellsprings Initiative has developed several plays including the The Killing of The Rosenbergs and the Lovers and Traitors plays. All are invited to experience the fabulous shows performed by the Minnesota Jewish Theatre.

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