Music Review: From Great Loss to Unimaginable Joy

Women and girls from Gush Etzion in a Raise Your Spirits performance. [Photo: Facebook]
Women and girls from Gush Etzion in a Raise Your Spirits performance. [Photo: Facebook]

The stories of Noah and Ruth and Naomi are quite different, yet have similar underlying themes.  Impending doom exists at the beginning, then faith and action are needed.  The stories take a dive into sorrow and back into relief and deliverance in the end.

According to the Bible, Noah and his family witnessed one of the greatest cataclysms in history.  The world had become so evil that God wanted to destroy all things living upon the earth.  God considered Noah to be righteous, and he was instructed to build a vessel so that his family and some of each species of animals could be saved to continue life after the impending deluge that would kill everything in its wake. Noah had great faith in God and did precisely what was asked of him. His faith in God was rewarded by the promise that the world would never again be completely destroyed.

Ruth and Naomi also witnessed great loss: that of their husbands. Ruth went from riches to rags, losing her status as a Moabite princess to become a pauper and outcast amongst the Jews. Enduring extreme poverty, Ruth chose not to leave Naomi, her mother-in-law, and followed her to her land, embracing the laws of her God wholeheartedly. Ruth picked the leftover grains from fields that had been harvested in order to provide food for the both of them.  Naomi instructed Ruth to go to her relative Boaz and lay at his feet at night.  Later they married.  Listening to Naomi and having faith in God led to a marriage that would produce the grandfather of King David.

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The extreme drama contained within both situations, from the global to the personal, are two examples of intense sorrow and fear that were then comforted and led to great joy.  Faith and inspiration are ignited within these stories, and they end with hope for the future.

What better way to express the spiritual joy found within the essence of these biblical stories than to sing, dance, and present the story itself to an audience.  Raise Your Spirits is a non-profit theater troupe of volunteer women and girls who have dedicated themselves to uplifting spirits and performing biblical-themed presentations.  

While hundreds of women were able to enjoy the original performances of Noah! Ride the Wave and Ruth & Naomi in the Fields of Bethlehem, today it is possible to share in the experience at home, with the DVD recordings of both productions. The heart-rending melodies and moving lyrics perfectly convey the spiritual lows and highs of both stories of incredible faith.

Raise Your Spirits is based in the Gush Etzion region, and its members have banded together to bring solace to the often terror-fraught community. They have previously donated a portion of their proceeds to help victims of terror, displaced families, individuals needing emergency medical care, and other important causes in Israel.  Their productions have helped religious women and girls discover and develop their performing talents, while adhering to the principles of Jewish law. 

The stories of Noah as well as Ruth and Naomi are among the performances that they have shared with the world.  These stories are quite different, yet they are both stories of gut-wrenching loss, perseverance and undeniable faith in God.  

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