Fortnightly logo

A Land Twice Promised

"An enemy is one whose story we have not heard"
-Gene Knudsen-Hoffman
It is difficult to read the news without feeling overwhelmed by stories of violence, loss, and sorrow stemming from the turmoil in the Middle East. At the center of that turmoil is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, characterized by a history of bloodshed, hatred, and revenge. The ongoing struggle has defied the efforts of the international community as well as parties on both sides to find a means of lasting peace. It has far-reaching implications for American foreign policy, national interests, and, most importantly, the lives of millions of people. In fact, if and how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved is one of the most pressing issues facing the international community today. As part of the answer to that question, the Athenaeum welcomes storyteller Noa Baum’s unique insight into the complex of this problem.

For Noa Baum, storytelling is a source of great joy and healing. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, receiving a BFA in Theater Arts from Te-Aviv University. After a time as an actress with the Khan Repertory Theater of Jerusalem, Baum discovered the power of stories and creative drama and went on to receive an M.A. in Educational Theater from NYU, with an emphasis on Drama Therapy. Since 1993 she has trained with Kaya Anderson and the French based Roy Hart Theater, exploring the power and potential of the human voice. Baum has toured Israel and the United States as a performance artist, educator, and workshop leader, delivering a message of healing and change to adult and children artists alike. Her most recent one-woman show for adults, “A Land Twice Promised,” received a grant from the National Storytelling Network. The show developed from a heartfelt dialogue that Baum began with a Palestinian woman while living in the United States. Weaving together their memories and their mothers’ stories, Baum creates a moving testimony that illuminates the complex and contradictory history of emotions that surround Jerusalem for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Noa Baum’s presentation at the Athenaeum is jointly sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights at CMC and a Claremont community interfaith coalition.