Welcome to Pageant of the Masters: Torah Edition
On the holiday of Simchat Torah, we celebrate the end of our annual cycle of Torah readings and start again. When we are allowed to celebrate together in-person, we often open the entire Torah; someone reads the last section of the Torah, and then someone else immediately begins reading the story of creation. Today, we invite you to drive through our living Torah, as it is symbolically rolled out. Please enjoy these Torah stories and the actor/models who are bringing them to life.
Eric, Liv, and Sasha Chaikin
There are six days of creation. Our Torah begins with the creation of light and dark on Day 1, and sun, moon and stars on Day 4. On Day 2 there is the skies and the ocean and on Day 5, there are birds (who travel through the sky) and fish (who travel through the ocean). On Day 3, there is dry land and on Day 6, there are land animals including human beings. Finally, on Day 7, God sees the world is good and God rests.
2. Adam and Eve
Alison, Bryan, Madelyn, and Arielle Friedman
Adam means “humanity” and Eve means “life.” Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden which has the Tree of Life in its center. They are not allowed to eat from that tree. However, the snake provokes Eve, and later Adam, to eat from the Tree of Life which gives them the understanding of how to create new life on their own. God is displeased and exiles them from the Garden.
3. Cain and Abel (or Un-Able)
Rabbi Barry Diamond
Cain is a farmer and Abel a shepherd. As a farmer, Cain has to own his land to grow his crops while, as a shepherd, Abel moves from place to place and owns no land. Both bring gifts to God, but God accepts Abel’s gifts and rejects Cain’s. So, in order to impress God, Cain uses Abel’s blood to fertilize the soil and grow bigger crops, but in doing so, he kills his brother. God is not pleased at all.
4. Noah’s Ark
Cantor David, Leasa, and Hayley Shukiar
Noah is a relatively good person, but the rest of humanity is evil. God tells Noah to build an ark and bring pairs of all animals (and seven sets of Kosher animals) into the ark. God then makes it rain and floods the entire world, washing away the evil human beings. After a year, the waters recede and Noah and his family can leave the ark. God places a rainbow in the sky as a promise never to destroy the earth by a flood.
5. Tower of Babel
Barbara Blanchard and David Ebner
After the flood, God remains in heaven while humanity is on earth. Humans gather in a city and begin building a tower to heaven in order to make a name for themselves. God is displeased and causes them all to speak different languages; they no longer understand one another, so the work ceases.
6. Abraham and Sarah
Suzanne Gallant and Neal Federman
7. Joseph’s Coat
Gil and Serena Tobias, and Jacob Tobias
Abraham has a grandson, Jacob, and twelve great grandsons. Jacob likes his son, Joseph the best so, he gives him a colorful coat showing that Joseph is the favorite. Joseph’s brothers are jealous and sell Joseph into slavery. They take the coat, dipped it in goat’s blood and bring it to Jacob. “Oh no. Look what we found,” they said innocently. Jacob believes that Joseph has been killed, but instead, Joseph is taken to Egypt. Years later, all of the brothers and Jacob move to Egypt and are saved by Joseph, who has become very powerful.
8. Pharaoh Enslaving Israelites
Alison, Brian, Sedona, and Cassidy Miller
For many years, life in Egypt is very good. But later a Pharaoh arises who comes to distrust the Jewish people. He enslaves them and later tries to kill all the Israelite boys.
9. Israelites Cross the Red Sea
David and Deb Satz
God hears the cries of the Israelite slaves in Egypt and sends Moses to bring them out. After Pharaoh refuses many times, and God punishes them with plagues, the Israelites leave. But their escape is blocked by the Sea of Reeds (also called the Red Sea). God splits the sea and allows the Israelites to enter. When the Egyptians pursue them into the split sea, God causes the waters to rush back and cover the Egyptians.
10. God Gives Torah on Mt. Sinai
After passing through the Sea of Reeds, the Israelites come to Mt. Sinai. God talks to the people and later gives them the Ten Commandments, and later still the entire Torah. It is this moment when we become the Jewish people.
11. Tent of Meeting
Juli and Paul Rycus
Along with other instructions, God tells the Israelites to build a special tent in which the Ark, along with the Ten Commandments, will be housed. In that tent, God meets with the priests (Kohanim) who communicate the people’s wishes to God.
12. Korach Rebellion
Adam, Rebecca, Eden, Delilah, Shiloh (& Abraham) Chirchick
Moses is still the leader of the Israelites and his brother, Aaron, is the High Priests who brings sacrifices to God. Korach is from the same family as Moses and Aaron, but Korach is unhappy that he and his friends do not have more power and cannot approach God directly. They rebel against Moses and Aaron. God causes a huge crack in the ground to open and swallow up Korach and the other rebels.
13. Moses’ Final Speech
Aliza Goland, Phylis Fleschler, and Kaya Gotcher
After forty years wandering in the desert, the Israelites arrive at the land God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years ago. Moses cannot enter the land with the rest of the Israelites, but instead gives them a final series of speeches before his life draws to a close. And, we begin reading the Torah again anew with renewed growth and perspective!
We are grateful to all our volunteers for making Simchat Torah 2020 memorable! Thank you to all of you who came to visit our pageant.! While we all look forward to the time we can hold the Torah and each other in our arms, singing and dancing in celebration, we were so glad to be able to see many of you in person!