Jonah Drama

Found In: Yom Kippur

Tags: Book of Jonah

By Rabbi Robert Saks | Ritual Component

This play is designed to supplement or replace the reading of Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoon. There are five speaking parts, and the play may be read rather than memorized. As written, there are two parts for men and two for women, but this is flexible and the names can be changed. There is also one musical part, which is optional if a singer is not available. IMPORTANT: This play is meant to be done completely seriously. All participants should get into the spirit of the play, and not try for humor, even when it's easy to kid around, as in the part of the innkeeper. This script offers a novel way to bring out the deeper meaning of the story of Jonah. Please let the author know when and where it's been presented, and with what success.

INTRODUCTION

Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman and welcome to this memorial service for Jonah Ben Amitai. As you know he died unexpectedly just over a week ago, while in Nineveh meeting with the Jewish exile community there and attending the quarterly board meeting of the Ben Amitai Children’s Home, which he founded. His funeral in his hometown of Gat-Hepher in the Galilee was private, at the family’s request, but there was nothing private about the shock that passed through all of Israel & Judah as news of his death spread through the land. Your presence today confirms the unique place he occupied in our hearts. He was a prophet who will not soon be forgotten.

For us he was a prophet but for his beloved wife, his children, and grandchildren, he was a dear husband, father, and “Grandpa”.  Through a week of mourning they have shed many tears.  We want them to know that we weep with them, and pray they will soon regain the ability to see that the sun still shines and that life’s sweetness abides.

There were many people who wanted to speak today.  Thanks to their cooperation and flexibility, we will hear from among them four speakers who can share with us insights on Jonah from his personal and professional life, and who can speak on behalf of the Jewish Community here at home and on behalf of the people and royal house of Nineveh.

I’ll confine myself to some general remarks and then introduce our speakers as their turns come.

For the complete script of Jonah's Memorial Service, click here.