“Tikkun olam”: to heal the world. That’s the auspicious goal of the New Hampshire-based Kaddish Project, named for the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. Sixty-three years after the end of the Holocaust, a new song cycle for chorus, soloists, and chamber ensemble by Lawrence Siegel explores the role this tragedy plays in the world today. Following the piece’s debut May 3 at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, project organizers hope to tour it across the U.S. and around the globe.
At each stop, “Kaddish” will bring lesson plans and literature to local schools, challenging students to identify in the world around them the type of apathy, hate, and prejudice that made the Holocaust possible. “We’re hoping to spark students to think about their humanity and their responsibility to intervene against the status quo,” note the project’s sponsors. Far more than a history lesson, “Kaddish” is a call to action. Reflecting the haunting words of Holocaust survivors woven throughout the work, the music demands to know what you are doing for the victims of genocide today.