"Okay, please, everyone quiet." Dan as usual was taking the stand. His three friends fell silent. The four boys had been voted in by their classmates to head the class play. This was the script-writing meeting, in a garden shed. "Alex has suggested doing a story about Marrano Jews in Spain. Do we all agree this is what we should do?" Nobody disagreed. So the scriptwriting began, helped by frequent drinks of fruit juice.
Four hours later, Adam proclaimed "I think we're done." Everybody else was fed up with being cooped up in the rather stuffy shed at the back of Misha's garden. Misha picked up the script, which was full of crossing-outs, and had various corners missing, vital scraps used to draw lots. But the actual script was readable. Dan had promised to type it up to be used for the auditioning of parts that Monday.
"Before we leave, I think we should discuss who we think would be good for each part," Dan said in his serious, this-is-a-very-important-point voice. Misha looked at him. "Actually, there's some food if we go inside," he said. They all left the shed and trooped inside the house.
"Just wash your hands please, before you come in my kitchen," Misha's mother said, looking warily at Adam's ink-stained hands. After the boys had washed and were seated at the supper table Dan managed to steer the conversation from sports back to the play.
"I think we should talk about the parts," Dan began. "I think David H. would be great for the bad priest guy who chases them to the port when they are escaping. You know, he can give that sinister-eye look."
Everyone chuckled. "What about making a list of the boys in the class who can be in the play," said Adam. The others looked questioningly at him. "What I mean to say is," Adam began again, "not everyone in the class can act." The other boys looked thoughtful. They didn't like leaving people out.
Misha's father, who until now had been sitting quietly at the table, looked up. "Have you boys been studying the Torah portion at all this week?" he asked.
Alex looked up. "Mmmm, I was also thinking about that." The other boys looked a little perplexed. "I'm not sure if this is what you were referring to, but Rabbi Cohen was telling us about the beginning of the portion today." Alex's voice trailed off uncomfortably. He wasn't usually the one to make speeches, but Misha's father nodded smilingly at him and Alex continued.
"Well basically it says that all the Jews were standing together before they entered the Land of Israel: the heads of the tribes, the elders, the men, women, children, and then it mentions the wood-choppers and the water-carriers. It seems funny to mention these two types as well, but actually it is saying that all the Jews, even the ones who have simple jobs and may not be able to study much Torah, or be good at things that some of the other people are, they are all significant, each one important in G-d's eyes, and they are all standing together as one people."
"How's that relevant to our play?" Adam asked.
"I get it," said Dan. "I agree, I think that everyone should have a role in our play. Of course we only have a few leading parts, but there are other smaller parts, and there will be drawing and building scenery, doing advertising to parents and other people at school. In fact if every one joins in, we can make this a really big success! We could invite everyone to view it, and make it really professional. As one group together we can make a much bigger impact."
Alex and the others nodded in agreement. Misha's parents exchanged glances, and smiled.
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