Theater Review: 'Havdala'

The packaging is effervescent and brilliantly comedic, but the ugliness of its content is like a knife to the gut.

By HELEN KAYE
August 20, 2009 10:12
1 minute read.
Theater Review: 'Havdala'

Theater Review 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Havdala Written and directed by Shmuel Hasfari Cameri Theater, Tel Aviv August 16 His post-Zionist trilogy, Kiddush, Hametz and Shiva, hinted that Israeli society has moved beyond the old Zionist ideals - ideals that it ignores at its peril. The must-see Havdala makes the trilogy a quartet, and in it, Shmuel Hasfari no longer hints. He comes right out and says that not only have we sold our birthright for a mess of pottage, but that we have tossed the lot into a sewer. True, the packaging is effervescent and brilliantly comedic, but the ugliness of its content is like a knife to the gut. Havdala is set in 1968, a month or so before the Independence Day parade to glorify the massive victory of the Six Day War. It moves, via Dror Herrenson's evocative set, between Holon, where the Levavi family lives, and Jerusalem, home of the Chavoyniks. Nathan Levavi (Gil Frank) and his wife Sarah (Anat Waxman) are immigrant Holocaust survivors, barely eking out a living because Nathan has refused reparations. Their son Avner (Dan Shapira) studies economics in Jerusalem. Wealthy Ya'akov Chavoynik owns a meat factory. He and his wife, the ditzy, shallow Leah (Gilat Ankori), are fifth and seventh generation Jerusalemites. They have a daughter, Saraleh (Liat Har-Lev). Avner and Saraleh fall in love, and that's when the trouble starts. Like a boil, the degradation of morality, principles, honor, values, even common decency festers to a head and bursts. Not even ruins remain. It follows, then, that the characters are close to caricatures - suggesting that this is what we have become - and the actors are mostly pitch-perfect. In particular, Frank's emotionally huddled Nathan is glorious. Katz's vulgar, insecurely complacent Chavoynik is the perfect foil. Havdala begins with havdala, the ritual that ends Shabbat, blessing the Lord who "separates the sacred from the profane, light from darkness, Israel from other nations…" Not any more, says Hasfari. Not here.

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

By JTA