Of all the holidays in the Jewish calendar, Chanukah may be the one most beloved by children. It also provides one of the best opportunities for teaching children valuable lessons. Just ask Karin Hershkovitz-Kochavi, an immigrant from Israel, who, along with Denise Kornitz, founded the Yeladudes Theater last year to produce bilingual English-Hebrew shows for youth. Their new show, “The Chanukah Miracle,” helps children to draw from Jewish tradition in order to take charge of their own lives.
Following on the success of their first show, “Three Challahs,” Hershkovitz and Kornitz are now presenting “The Chanukah Miracle” at Jewish organizations across the New York area. Kornitz’s fiancé, Andres Rotmistrovsky, composed the music, based on Chanukah songs, like “Yemei HaChanukah” (Days of Chanukah).
Kornitz, who hails from Argentina, appears in “The Chanukah Miracle” with Adi Kozlovsky, an Israel actress and comedian who has toured the United States in “Voca People,” the international, Conehead-inspired a cappella group. In the show, written by Hershkovitz-Kochavi, Kornitz and Tzipi Reifer, an 8-year-old girl named Tali (Kornitz) falls asleep at school while listening to the story of Chanukah; she dreams that she is in the Temple in Jerusalem, where she meets Judah Maccabee (Kozlovsky) who tells her about his conquest of the Greek tyrant Antiochus. When Tali wakes up, she is able to cope with a classmate, Ayelet (Kozlovsky), who has been bullying her.
In an interview, Hershkovitz-Kochavi told The Jewish Week that by bringing the Chanukah story to life, the show teaches a “double lesson about the holiday and about friendship.” While English-speaking children can learn some Hebrew from watching the show, which is highly interactive, the show also benefits children from Israeli families. “My Israeli friends want their children to be exposed to Hebrew outside the home as well as inside it,” she explained.
While most of the Yeladudes’ bookings are at Orthodox schools and synagogues, Hershkovitz-Kochavi wants Jewish children from all different backgrounds to see the show, which teaches that “everyone has a light inside of us. When we do mitzvahs, our lights join together and we can light up the whole world.”
“The Chanukah Miracle” will be performed Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at The Jewish Center, 131 W. 86th St., (212) 724-2700. It will also be performed on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, N.J., (201) 569-7900, and on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m., at the Great Neck Synagogue, 26 Old Mill Road, (516) 487-6100. Paid reservations are required for all three performances; see www.yeladudestheater.com for more information.