Who Shall Live...?


Deepening the Experience of the High Holydays

The season of the High Holydays is a time when we confront the big issues of our lives.   The liturgy propels us toward these questions.  Who Shall Live...? is a dramatic work easily brought to your community.  It will trigger conversation and provoke discussion on the themes of the holydays.  It has been used at various times during the High Holyday period, most often as an Erev Selichot  or a Yom Kippur break program. 

Who Shall Live...?  is a powerful, thought-provoking theatrical production which follows the spiritual journeys of four Jewish people from diverse backgrounds.  As they struggle with their own introspection, relationship to God and the themes of the High Holyday liturgy, we see ourselves in their reflections.  We become absorbed in their stories, and those stories help us to understand our own stories as we enter the High Holyday season.

Who Shall Live...?  is a perfect way to trigger compelling and meaningful conversation and introspection prior to and during the High Holyday season.  It can serve as the programmatic centerpiece or the perfect complement to other communal and synagogue programming related to the High Holydays.

Who Shall Live...? is a 45 minute theatrical production performed by four actors:  two men and two women.  It is ideally followed by a facilitated discussion in small groups.  It is appropriate for middle school age groups and older.  The production can be brought to you or the rights can be obtained so that it can be easily produced "in-house".  Materials are provided to enable the production to be easily staged and to guide the discussion facilitators.  

This program is ideal for:

-Erev Selichot programming

-College Hillels

-High Holyday post b’nai mitzvah and/or adult programming

-Jewish Community Centers

-Youth groups

-Summer Camps

-Weekend Retreats


-Educator/Community Professionals seminars

-Jewish Community Programming

Who Shall Live...? was first performed in 2002.

For more information about bringing Who Shall Live...? to your community, contact

Jeff Bernhardt: 

jmbedsw@aol.com  or  (818) 909-0931


Praise for Who Shall Live...?

"Who Shall Live...? was an outstanding experience for Temple Bat Yam.  Our congregation (the largest we have ever had for a Selichot service) didn't move a muscle.  There is no question in my mind that the power of the Selichot service was greatly enhanced by Who Shall Live...?

Rabbi Lew Littman, Temple Bat Yam - Fort Lauderdale


"It was meaningful, powerful and a great way to begin the season.”


Rabbi Michelle Greenberg, Temple Jeremiah - Northfield, IL

"The play was everything we hoped it'd be and more.  It was well received, well delivered, and led to an outstanding conversation which continues.”   


Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, Beth Haverim Temple - Mahwah, NJ

"It really inspired some great conversation and soul searching.. .. You have really written a great piece that touches people very profoundly."


Rabbi Andrew Straus, Temple Emanuel of Tempe

"The play was very well written and the feedback was very positive.  It raised great issues and provided very good material for discussion."


Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard, Adat Ari El - North Hollywood, CA

"The play and discussion were a perfect introduction to Selichot.  It was extremely powerful for the congregation, the presenters,and the confirmation class which participates in Selichot.  Thanks for creating this important spiritual work."


Rabbi Gerry Serotta


“... I highly recommend it.  Especially right for Selichot or any time during Elul, the ten days, or even Yom Kippur afternoon, the play movingly sets the mood for the days of teshuvah and the difficult questions posed by the liturgy and theology of the Days of Awe.  Who Shall Live...?  brings the concerns of the High Holydays into a contemporary and emotional framework.  The play itself provides a powerful theater experience, and the follow-up discussion questions provided thought-provoking small group conversations afterwards.  In addition to adult groups, Who Shall Live...? would be an appropriate piece for high school or college (Hillel) students.

Rabbi Lisa Edwards, Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim - Los Angeles, CA

“My husband and I saw Who Shall Live...? as part of Selichot, in preparation for the High Holydays... We both found it extremely powerful and extremely moving.  It raises a number of critical issues about the power of the Jewish tradition to help us cope with these uncertainties.  It led to a provocative discussion of these important issues, and, indeed, helped us prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Dr.  Isa Aron,  Professor of Jewish Education, Hebrew Union College

"...it was a smash!  The actors enjoyed it and the congregation was abuzz for several days."


Rabbi Dan Shevitz, Mishkon Tephilo - Venice, CA


"We presented  Who Shall Live...? It was very well received and provoked many questions after the presentation.  The rabbi received many emails asking to continue the discussion."

Phyllis Traub, B’nai Amoona, - St. Louis, MO

“Who Shall Live...?  is a provocative theatrical piece that invites one to actively  prepare for the Days of Awe.  In a compelling and creative manner, the characters in Who Shall Live...? examine the spiritual/theological issues and other obstacles that impede their living as the Jews of faith they may aspire to be.   In conjunction with small group discussions, Who Shall Live...? encourages audience members to look within themselves and wrestle with High Holyday liturgy and metaphors.  During the season of introspection, Who Shall Live.?  is a natural program for Jews who are seeking to discover, uncover and/or return to having faith in God.”

Devorah Servi West Coast Regional Director, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

"The play went over wonderfully!  Our rabbi said it was the best Selichot program the temple has ever had."


Cantor Claire Metzger

“The presentation went very well.  Everyone in attendance was touched by it and had much to say about it for days afterwards...a perfect lead-in to the Selichot service and the High Holydays...I have already received requests for an encore performance.”     

Margie Cella, Ritual Chair, North Shore Jewish Center - Port Washington Station, NY