Frequently asked questions
What is the program?
The heart of every Jewish Crossroads seminar is a live performance by Shlomo Horwitz, portraying multiple characters from different places and times who interact with the audience. Each character’s point of view is then thoroughly dissected and analyzed in a lively discussion with the participants. This is no dry lecture series – each program is dramatic, powerful and unique, since it literally incorporates each audience’s own live contribution together with massive research into classical Jewish and historical source material. The result is a program of sophisticated and high-level Jewish learning, rendered accessible through cutting-edge educational theater techniques along the lines of Pitzele and Moreno. Shlomo Horwitz is an ordained student of some of the great Masters of Torah in the US and Israel, and he shares with others the excitement of advanced Torah knowledge and strong Jewish identity using this creative medium.
What is the goal?
That depends on which of the 20+ programs you pick from our Programs page. Most are geared to one of the following themes:
Israel: The goal in programs like “Jihad” and “Paratrooper in Jerusalem” is to foster an intense bond with our Land, as well as an understanding of its history and the current debate about Israel’s legitimacy. Characters include a Palestinian campus activist and the poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi.
Ethics and Philosophy: “Hold the Burgers” explores Judaism’s attitude toward animal rights. Characters in this program include an extreme PETA animal rights activist, Rabbi Yosef Albo of 14th-century Spain and Rabbi Avraham Kook, the celebrated Chief Rabbi before Israel became a state. “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” takes us to a deeper understanding of G-d’s Ways, and shows how free choice has real meaning and true repercussions. Characters include a 17th century Dutch rabbi and a Holocaust survivor.
Jewish Belief: There are major religions out there with billions of adherents. We have only 15 million Jews and yet we think we're right. What chutzpah! “Do We Have a Leg to Stand On” attempts to answer why we don't follow the religions with the greatest numbers. Dramatis personae include a mixed-up high-school senior and the founder of a major world religion. “Holy Ghost” deals with the challenge of Jewish Messianic missionaries and the challenge they pose on campus and in your living room. Can you survive the “rabbi’s” compelling logic? After this program, you’ll understand these missionaries’ deceptive tactics.
Jewish History: “Convert or Die!“ aims to convey the lonely tragic lives of Marranos, or Crypto-Jews, the descendants of forced converts from 15th century Spain and Portugal. This presentation brings to life those players who caused these conversions as well as those who fought tooth and nail to stick with their Jewish heritage. Meet Tomás de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain in the 1480's and hear how he explains why torture was a 'favor' for wayward heretical souls. Learn of the enormous pressure which caused hundreds of thousands to publicly renounce their faith and accept the cross.
Social Issues: “Pressure Cooker” gives students and their parents some leading-edge tools to combat peer pressure. These techniques were developed for the Dallas Police Department and have tremendous application to Jewish youth. Surprisingly, adult audiences were very receptive to these techniques for use in their own lives to combat adult peer pressure. We have a seminar to assist students with handling stress with parents and teachers as well, using techniques contributed by consultants in the mental health profession. Still another seminar deals with how to cope with internet addiction utilizing sophisticated techniques.
Who is the audience?
We are gratified that our programs have reached Jews of every age and stripe. We have done performances for adults and Holocaust survivors, for young parents, college students, high school and elementary school students.
What is the venue?
We have performed at synagogues, retreats, hotels, college campuses, school assemblies, overnight and day camps, and Shabbatonim, all over the US, Canada, England and Israel. Often we plan visits to a city and do programming in the schools as well as for the shuls, and address adult and/or youth audiences during the course of the weekend.