The Sh'ma Project
Move Against Hate
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The Sh’ma Project: Move Against Hate, harnesses the power of the arts to teach young adults about the Holocaust and human rights.
"Sh’ma" – which means ‘Listen’ in Hebrew -- comes from the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. The Sh’ma Project entreats the audience to listen and respond to one family’s story of the Holocaust using three different approaches: dance film, Upstander Workshops, and free Open Educational Resources.
The Sh'ma Project creates a safe space for young adults to learn about the Holocaust and to explore, identify, and ultimately reject hate speech and behaviors that lead to atrocities and genocide.
The Sh’ma Project is an educational, artistic movement against hate. Resisting the international resurgence of antisemitism, this educational, artistic project is designed to reach young adults and engage community across Texas. The Sh’ma Project combines dance film, “Upstander Workshops,” and free educational materials into a cohesive whole. Through the eloquent language of dance film, Sh’ma tells one family’s story of the Holocaust. The protagonist, based on director Suki John’s mother, journeys from school days to yellow star, deportation to concentration camp, refugee to American citizen.
Starting in DFW and expanding to other cities in Texas, the Project will bring a film and workshops to university and high school audiences, giving young people personal narratives that build understanding in ways that traditional history lessons cannot. Many students have not had the opportunity to creatively process information about the Holocaust, racism, ethnic cleansing and other identity-based atrocities. Student groups participating in pre- and post-performance “Upstander Workshops” will be guided to interpret the difficult content in empowering, creative ways, to contextualize history and make contemporary connections. Through dialogue, personalization, and expressive movement, audience participants will create collaborative responses to their shared experience.
The production originally premiered in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia in 1990. Later, in 1999, it was revived primarily for performances in New York for high school audiences. Since it's creation, "Sh'ma" has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Hadassah Magazine, and the Texas Jewish Post.