Between Heaven and Earth

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Based on the Stories of I. L. Peretz
Adapted for the Stage by Scott Hilton Davis
Published by Jewish Storyteller Press, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
ISBN 978-09798156-2-1

An entertaining collection of four one act plays based on the Yiddish short stories of the 19th century Jewish writer I. L. Peretz. Plays are appropriate for middle school, high school, and adult audiences.

Bontshe Shvayg (Bontshe the Silent). Throughout his hard and painful life on earth, Bontshe Shvayg is silent; his existence insignificant. But when he dies, the Heavenly Shofar trumpets his arrival in Paradise. Offered anything his heart desires for his quiet and saintly behavior on earth, Bontshe Shvayg’s humble request dismays his Defending Angel and stuns the Heavenly Court of Paradise. (4 males; 4 females)

What Is A Soul? Three teachers—a stern, by-the-book Talmud teacher, a mystical Chassidic rebbe, and a “freethinking” Yiddish writing tutor—compete for the heart, mind, and soul of a young Jewish student. (4 males; 3 females)

Empty Handed. (Based on Peretz’s short story, “At the Head of the Dying Man.”) When the White Angel arrives to escort Rivke-Beyle’s soul to heaven, she is surprised to find the Dark Angel from “the other place” already waiting beside the dying woman’s bed. Rivke-Beyle’s choice of which angel to accompany will surprise and challenge the thinking of your audience. (1 male; 2 females)

If Not Still Higher. A Litvak—a skeptical Jew from Lithuania—is determined to find out where the Rebbe of Nemirov really goes when he disappears each year between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. What the Litvak finds out about tzedakah—good deeds—changes his life forever. (3 males; 2 females)

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