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Web event

sdane's picture

Attached is my web event for Anne. 

Web event 3 play.pdf106.39 KB


ishin's picture


You comment seems super relevant to our conversation about what is accessible and inaccessible to people who are not well-versed in certain subjects (just to name of the fews places this comes up: our discussion of the Samuel Beckett play, the "codes" necessary to survive in certain settings, and also in our general discussion about participating within academia).  The reason why I want to point this out is because I find it interesting that there doesn't seem to be as much of a "shame" associated with having someone describe the cultural norms surrounding what it means to be Jewish and deaf in comparison to the culture of academia.  One of the more obvious reasons why this is the case is one that Jlewis points outs in a recent post (I'll link the post after this): academia isn't named a "culture" in a way, and as a result, people are scared to acknowledge that there certain pieces of information that need to be divulged to a newcomer.

ishin's picture


This was supposed to be a comment to Anne's comment.  Sorry about that!

Anne Dalke's picture

Pause. Silence. Elaborate?

Yours is one of several small dramas I got this time 'round; you might interested in exploring the others: Sasha's description of a debate between a father and daughter about Art? and Michaela's about another family culture of silence.

What I notice first about yours (aside from the absence of markers--a title? any explanation of details, such as the date?) is the use of pauses and silences. I'm wondering if they are references to the distinctions Mark Lord made when he was here, between those arenas where the actors have more work to do, and those where the audience needs time to figure things out….? Or whether you're up to something else….?

In your first event you explored how "silencing yourself" " tends to give someone else the opportunity to speak and share an idea." But that's not the sort of silence going on here, is it?

Your next web event was about the two simultaneous dialogues going on in our classes--the personal and the more abstract. I'm thinking that you are using this web event to highlight the former, telling us something about the personal stories you bring w/ you (but haven't shared so far?) in class? And the silences embedded therein?

I'm assuming that the largest silence here has to do with children partnering out of Judaism…but I wonder what else I might be missing?

Care to elaborate? Or are you asking me to respect the silences around what is not explained, as per our discussion of Rigoberta Menchu?

sdane's picture

To answer your questions – I

To answer your questions –

I chose the year of the play to be around the time I remember being very conscious of overhearing many of these conversations going on within my extended family and larger community.  I chose the exact date because it was a Friday night (the same reason I chose conspicuously unkosher food) to highlight the irony I see in a lot of Jewish communities, where religious identity is waning but ethnic/cultural identity is so strong as to be constraining.  I also liked the idea of the women ordering in Italian because it represents another irony where some Jewish people see themselves as being able to assimilate into other American cultures, but reject the idea that any outsider could really join their community.  The location is one place where I’ve observed these tensions, and the silence I was trying to portray, and is also an area where there tend to be highly concentrated Jewish communities.

The silence actually isn’t about intermarriage per se, but rather the implicit notion that there is a collective “Jewish experience,” which is never really defined, but that many Jewish people seem to assume is felt by all Jews, especially those raised within certain communities.  Part of the understanding that comes from this “experience” is supposedly the intuitive feeling that intermarriage is wrong – due to religion, tradition, and perhaps most importantly, historical events of the last century.  Moreover, at least in my own experience, it seems like many people assume that these inherited understandings of cultural heritage and experience are impenetrable by non-Jews. I think the fear of intermarriage has less to do with fear about the literal number of Jews in the world and more to do with fear of people distancing themselves from the past and “forgetting what it means to be Jewish.”  But what these inborn understandings of group experience actually ARE never gets verbalized.  In my opinion, that is the silence in the community.

To be totally honest, I’d assumed that you would pick up on the meaning behind the play, because I’d sent it to a friend (whose family I partially ripped off with the light bulb fiasco) and she immediately understood what I was trying to get across, and what silence I was referring  to.  But maybe you need to have lived it to immediately get the meaning…

Anne Dalke's picture


for taking the time to fill me in on some of the nuances I hadn't were right about that! So interesting what need not be explained, w/in a culture (maybe that's partly what 'makes' it a culture--all that's understood w/out explanation?!), but must be made explicit (or otherwise won't be understood) by those outside.