The Beginning of the Poem

Written and performed by Helen Mintz

Dramaturgued and directed by Lynna Goldhar Smith

Yiddish poetry by Rokhl Korn Poetry translated into English by Seymour Levitan, Miriam Waddington, and Ruth Whitman

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts

“Now nothing can save you from the angel’s sword, /And nothing prevent your final going under/ Except a lucky rhyme or somersaulting word.”*

This compelling one woman play is a tribute to the power of literature, and its grace. Accompany the storyteller on her moving and humourous journey to discover the language and literature of her Yiddish speaking family. The ground breaking poetry of Yiddish writer Rokhl Korn is brought to life through the performer’s personal and family stories. When this play was performed in Germany, it was described as “bringing Yiddish back to the continent where it was destroyed by our ancestors.”

The show is an act of reconciliation

*from der onhoyb fun a lid/ The Beginning of a Poem written by Rokhl Korn, translated by Miriam Waddngton.

“Stunningly beautiful. I was moved to tears by your groundedness and the earth shattering simplicity of the depth of your understanding. I resonated with your desire to move forward on a shared platform of beauty and harmony. With your offer of Rokhl Korn’s poem, the murder of 11,000 Jews gave birth to a new generation, a generation ready to move forward on a path of peaceful coexistence. I thank you most gratefully. I was inspired.”
Mary Gavin, storyteller, Vancouver, British Columbia

“The audience was particularly moved by the charisma of the artist who alternated between English and Yiddish. Helen Mintz understands her work to be a contribution to better understanding between the generations. Despite the seriousness of the Holocaust theme, she does not avoid humour. She also focuses on current political themes.” Offenbach-Post, Offenbach, Germany.