RAISE YOUR SPIRITS THEATRE
By women – For women
Raise Your Spirits was founded in 2001 as a non-profit theater troupe in order to raise the spirits of the people of Israel. It began when Sharon Katz of Efrat sent out an email, “We’re putting on a show!” She produced, Toby Klein Greenwald directed, Arlene Chertoff choreographed and together they got it off the ground. 100 more women joined them for the first show; that was the beginning. We perform in memory of victims of terror and Israeli soldiers who fell in the line of duty, and in honor of their families, who we have hosted as our guests. Toby Klein Greenwald is the Artistic Director and she has remained with the group till this very day.
We help women and girls find fulfillment for their performing talents in accordance with Jewish religious law and, in some cases, support for difficult life challenges. We believe in inclusion, and our casts have included teens at risk, children with learning disabilities, AD(H)D and other behavioral issues, and women who are struggling, each with her own story. This has always been a hallmark of Raise Your Spirits. Our sisterhood is one of warmth, love and mutual understanding.
We build bridges through theater. We do this in the spirit of uniting women and girls through their love of theater, dance and song, and through the prism of our biblical heroines and heroes. We reach out to wider population groups, to include actresses and crew members from across the spectrum of religious observance, new “olim” (immigrants to Israel) and native-born Israelis. Our cast members have come from within Efrat and Gush Etzion, and also from Beitar (a haredi community), Nes Harim and Mevo Beitar (religiously mixed communities), from Jerusalem, from Rehovot, from Petah Tikva and elsewhere.
We welcome cast members who are studying for conversion or who have already converted. There have been women from Italy, Holland the U.S. and elsewhere who have joined the Jewish people before or during the time that they were performing with Raise Your Spirits.
We bring the belief and the beauty of the Torah to wide audiences, in the spirit of “From Zion shall go forth the Torah.” We have performed beyond Gush Etzion – in Jerusalem, Raanana, Kiryat Arba, the Shomron, Rehovot, and in Gush Katif, before its uprooting.
We adhere to the Jewish and civic legal principles of respecting copyrights and therefore either legally license materials or commission original music at significant expense. Our shows have been performed by others in New York, Cincinnati, Canada, India, Haifa and at summer camps.
When the support of foundations or individuals enables us to donate a portion of our proceeds to charity, we do so. In the past we have benefited victims of terror, families in financial distress, emergency medical requests and other individual and community needs throughout Israel.
We offer free or discounted tickets, via social service departments and organizations, to women in difficult financial straits. We give special consideration to women and girls from traumatized communities, such as Sderot and the uprooted of Gush Katif. We hosted, as our guests, women from the lost tribe of Menashe, who now live in Israel. We have hosted women and girls from protective shelters.
Raise Your Spirits promotes our all-volunteer cast and crew in the area of the performing arts and other professions. We have developed a network of several hundred women and girls and we serve as a model to other theater groups in Israel and abroad.
We are gratified when we see our actresses and production crew spread their wings and contribute to the ever-growing community of women in the performing arts in Israel, and are proud to have been their mentors.
We are in search of partners.
Raise Your Spirits Theatre, (founded as the Raise Your Spirits Summer Stock Company in 2001), has been a registered amuta since January, 2010. Amuta no. 580522233, 7 Azza St., Jerusalem, 9238104.
Board members: Adv. Tamar Rubin (Chairwoman), Felicity Aziz, Toby Klein Greenwald (Artistic & Founding Director, 2001-present day), Sharon Katz (Founding Producer 2001-7; 2014-5), Ruth Lieberman, Eudice Spitz, Yael Valier (Emeritus).
Members of the pre-amuta advisory committee included also Shelley Bloom, Arlene Chertoff (Founding Choreographer 2001-7), Jill Kuchar and Susan Suna.
We are in search of partners.