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“In a way that nothing else quite can, this intense and thought-provoking live stage performance brings vitality to our morbid history. The message of The Mitzvah Project – that there is no ‘Other,’  and that our commonality as human beings should supersede our various differences – unfortunately gains urgency by the day. This was highly impactful experience for my students and members from the surrounding community alike.”  Dr. Richards Plavnieks, Assistant Professor of History, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL

“The Mitzvah Project was nothing short of fantastic! The 200 students, faculty, staff and parents in attendance were glued to the stage throughout Elijah Alexander’s riveting performance and impactful lecture. The Q & A session was particularly valuable, giving our students the opportunity to interact with Mr. Alexander and ask some deep questions. It was an experience the students — and adults — will not soon forget!” — Patrick Nolan, Sandalwood High School, Jacksonville, FL

 

“Roger Grunwald has created an extraordinarily relatable performance that thoroughly engaged our students. The message communicated by [Mitzvah Project Teaching Artist] Elijah Alexander was powerful. He possesses the ability to engage the audience with such passion that he effectively drew the students on stage with him. The intimate one man play addresses the Holocaust then connects it to today's issues of marginalization in a meaningful presentation. This is a must for every high school student.”  — John Gallup, Arvada West High School, Arvada, CO

“The Mitzvah Project [was] a unique opportunity for our school…During his lecture and Q&A session, Teaching Artist Elijah Alexander, related extremely well to our students and their current life experiences. For any educator interested in bringing awareness about the dangers of oppression, both past and present, The Mitzvah Project is a powerful and impactful presentation.” — Craig Bocks, Assistant Principal, San Ramon Valley HS, CA

"The Mitzvah Project was moving and inspirational, reminding us of our shared humanity. The influence of the show continues on even after it is over and one finds oneself speaking softer and kinder to others the next day. This show is more than educational, it is transformative.” Kristin Connor, North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics

 

“After experiencing The Mitzvah Project and Elijah Alexander’s mesmerizing performance, not one person left the auditorium unchanged. It pierced the soul and gave voice for what we all know deep down inside -- stereotypes, prejudice, racism, hatred, and demonization of ‘the other’ are flat out wrong! But more than that, my community was moved to get off the sidelines and do something.” — Steve O’Neil, Head of School, Vail Christian High School, CO

"The Mitzvah Project helped our students understand that making our country and world more just is everyone’s responsibility."   Charley Gilmore, Sacramento County Office of Education

“The Mitzvah Project was powerful… [Teaching Artist, Elijah Alexander] commanded the students' attention and captivated them throughout the performance. It was awesome…” — Bronwen Cull-Michels, Nordhoff High School, Ventura County, California

"The Mitzvah Project was a moving and inspiring presentation. [Teaching Artist] Elijah Alexander was knowledgeable and personally connected to the material and engaged his audiences with skill. The talk back opened up important dialogue with students and connected current events with tragedies of the past."

    — Kara Lakes, Ojai Storytelling Festival, CAl

"Mr. Grunwald’s Mitzvah Project is extraordinary. From their comments after his presentation, it’s clear that my students were able to make the critical connection between the racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy of today’s world and the roots of prejudice and hatred that gave rise to the Holocaust. Bravo!” — Jack Chan, Assistant Principal, New Utrecht High School, Brooklyn, NY

 

“Roger Grunwald's deep concern for questions of identity touched everyone and challenged our thinking about nationality, religion and indeed culture.”  — Henner Petin, (past) President, German Society, Oxford University

"Roger Grunwald manages to combine art and history in his dazzling performance of The Mitzvah Project. Seldom have I witnessed the ability of an actor to infuse characters with such passion and clarity so as to make time travel a reality. When watching Roger perform, you never have to suspend disbelief to savor the moment and the significance of his message. Today, when events unfold with terrifying velocity, it's critically important to remember the past. Just one of the many reasons not to miss Roger Grunwald's Mitzvah Project."  — William S. Cohen, Former United States Senator/Secretary of Defense

“Roger Grunwald presents an intense and riveting theatrical experience, followed by a mini-lecture and conversation that illuminates a little-known aspect of the Shoah. Our members were deeply engaged in pondering the moral dimensions of Hitler’s part-Jewish German soldiers, as well as contemporary dilemmas around race and bigotry.” — Rabbi Janet Marder, Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA 

“Roger Grunwald’s Mitzvah Project is a powerful and painful reminder of the snares and danger that our loss of humanity might engender. This lesson for the future, a memento mori, is at the core of Roger Grunwald’s extraordinary work.” — Professor Manuela Consonni, Director, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 

 

“Roger Grunwald's Mitzvah Project is a stunning piece of theater, and an illuminating discussion of German-Jewish history. Roger's remarkable performance enabled my students to engage in a powerful way with the complex mechanisms of family history and the Holocaust. It was the highlight of the semester.” —  Leslie Morris, Ph.D., Director, Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota

“The Mitzvah Project is a… powerful, moving, and compelling presentation… that forces [the audience] to confront the moral ambiguity of the Holocaust, reflect on the distorted logic of racial laws, and relive the impossible moral choices that ordinary people were forced to make in order to survive…. the performance is followed by a lecture [in which] Grunwald reminds the audience that German racial laws took their cue from the United States.”  — Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Ph.D., Director, Center for Jewish Studies. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
 

“Roger Grunwald's "The Mitzvah Project" transported me… in a way I would not have thought possible. His acting is superb and through his characters he takes us to scenes of unimaginable horror and crimes against humanity… and shows us through two flickers of light, two “mitzvahs,” that human kindness, compassion, and the ability to to find justice and peace for another, triumphs.  The emotions that we feel from Roger's depictions are over-whelming and reinforce that we must NEVER forget. Now, more then ever before, we must be ever vigilant that despots and would-be despots cannot be allowed to target others for their religion, the color of their skin, their political beliefs, their gender identity/expression, their abilities/disabilities — and the list goes on.” — Carmen Suarez, Ph.D., Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Portland State University

"You could hear a pin drop in the audience of The Mitzvah Project, a one man theatrical mini masterpiece…This rarely told historical lesson about the Holocaust is delivered as a riveting theatrical performance… It is extremely relevant today as we face a new wave of genocide, intolerance and bullying. A must see!”  — Patti L. Wertheimer, Board President, Jewish Federation, Sarasota-Manatee

"Roger Grunwald teaches the gut-wrenching history of Jews in Nazi Germany through a combination of a brilliant stage performance and intimate conversation with audience members thereafter. He seamlessly connects the struggles and experiences of ordinary Jews during the Second World War with those of African Americans under Jim Crow and Muslim refugees and immigrants today. He offers a humanistic pathway forward not only by cautioning against the ways in which we 'other' groups of people based on notions of 'race,' but by modeling a kind of warmth and openness that will touch anyone's heart.” — Dr. Omar H. Ali, Historian and Dean, Lloyd International Honors College, The University of North Carolina, Greensboro

The Mitzvah Project is a well thought-out, well-prepared, and well-executed masterpiece by Roger Grunwald... For those looking to see a modern, novel, and intimate engagement with the Holocaust, The Mitzvah Project is a must-see. — David A. Meola, Ph. D., Bert & Fanny Meisler Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies, University of South Alabama

 

"The Mitzvah Project… is totally extraordinary… watching the performance and listening to Mr. Grunwald speak makes for an incredibly powerful evening.” — Miriam Berger, Senior Rabbi, Finchley Reform Synagogue, London

 

"The Mitzvah Project should be required viewing for anyone wishing to learn about a nearly-silent chapter of Holocaust history.  People will be forced to take a deep look inside themselves to determine the nature of their hearts, and just what we would do at any cost to try and stay alive."  — Dr. Rick Halperin, Director, Embrey Human Rights Program, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
 

“Roger Grunwald’s unique experiment in combining a heart-wrenching performance with a historical mini-lecture works like magic… German men classified as Jewish or half-Jewish by the Nazis fought in Hitler’s army? By the time you leave the spell-binding event, you understand.” — Björn Krondorfer, Director, Martin-Springer Institute & Endowed Professor of Religious Studies, Northern Arizona University

 

“The Mitzvah Project, Roger Grunwald’s unmissable piece of theatre, is both expanded and deepened by his detailed analysis of his own family biography, the origins of the story, and what it means for the way we confront prejudice and discrimination in the present day.” — Dr. Stuart Taberner, Professor of Contemporary German Literature, Culture and Society, University of Leeds (U.K.)

 

“The Mitzvah Project goes into the heart and complexity of current issues of prejudice, bullying, racial tension, genocide and war presented within the historical context of The Holocaust.” — Mónica Olague-Marchán, Ph.D., Inclusivity Leader / Family Liaison, Catholic Memorial High School, Waukesha, WI

 

“Roger Grunwald delivers a powerful performance in his one-person show, The Mitzvah, further enhanced by his lecture — equal parts history lesson and personal revelation. His audience cannot help but be moved, informed and enriched. Our patrons are still talking about it.” — Lillian Polus Gerstner, Director of Public Programs, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, IL

 

“Combining a gripping play with a moving lecture and conversation, Roger Grunwald’s Mitzvah Project brings a fascinating new perspective to the complex and conflicted history of the German Jew.” — Dr. Shay Pilnik, Executive Director, Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, Milwaukee, WI

 

“Roger Grunwald’s presentation of The Mitzvah Project — his play and lecture — is of the highest professional, academic, and artistic quality. His combination of the dramatically intense play, well-researched lecture, and thoughtful and personally revealing talk-back creates an astonishing experience!” — Liz Feldstern, Executive Director, Institute for Holocaust Education, Omaha, NE

 

“Roger Grunwald’s The Mitzvah Project was a compelling and enormously informative program. The story of “Mischlinge” serving in the Nazi Army is a surprising and little known reality that we should know more about. His performance and lecture enriched us so much here in Milwaukee. Kudos.” — Jody Hirsh Director of Judaic Education Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, Milwaukee, WI

 

"The Mitzvah Project is an eye-opening look at a virtually unknown story of World War II.  Roger Grunwald's performance is riveting, and his post-performance presentation is memorable - seldom has a history lesson made such an impact."  — Philip C. Sneed, Executive Director, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Colorado

 

“Our Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Committee has welcomed many speakers to share their scholarly research with our college community. However, few presenters have affected our attendees so profoundly as did Roger Grunwald. His innovative and commanding performance convincingly portrayed a wide range of conflicted feelings of both the victims and perpetrators of The Holocaust. His post-performance interactive lecture and discussion even more personalized the themes raised in his play, especially when he shared his own family’s story under National Socialism. I highly recommend attending and experiencing The Mitzvah Project!”  — Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C., Stonehill College, MA

 

Roger Grunwald's [presentation] of The Mitzvah Project was deeply moving… [He] is an outstanding actor with a deep understanding of the complicated situation of German-speaking Jews during World War II… His performance is a must-see for all those interested in Jewish history, in particular the Holocaust.” — Professor Amy-Diana Colin, University of Pittsburgh, Department of German, President of the City for the Cultures of Peace

 

“Roger [Grunwald has] shed light on a little-known and shocking historical truth in The Mitzvah, his mesmerizing, tragic, and at times ironically humorous one-man show. In my opinion, every Jewish organization should invite [him] to present The Mitzvah Project, an important and challenging examination of history.”

 — Andrea Winograd, Executive Director of the Holocaust Museum & Study Center, Suffern, NY 

 

"The Mitzvah Project is enrichment for the heart and the mind. Mr. Grunwald sheds light on an important aspect of the European Jewish story... It is a powerful evening of learning and reflection."

— Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA

 

“Grunwald’s story-telling is riveting, clear and original throughout. I have written previously on Holocaust drama and on memory and performance (NY TIMES; 25 February, 2001) and was delighted to find The Mitzvah both unique and on the highest level among these works…” — Cindy Rosenthal, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Drama and Dance, Hofstra University​

 

“I was proud to present Roger Grunwald in his provocative and unique piece - The Mitzvah Project. [He] is a gifted actor who brought himself beautifully to the original material… Bravo!" —  Pamela Moller Kareman, Executive Director, The Neighborhood Playhouse School of The Theatre and Artistic Director, The Schoolhouse Theater 

 

“…The Mitzvah is an important piece of cultural discourse as well as a marvelous piece of theater, co-written and acted by a gifted and versatile playwright and performer.” — Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel, Chabad of Port Washington                                            

“Roger Grunwald has taken a little-known piece of Holocaust history and transformed it into an emotionally searing presentation…”  —  Dr. Arthur Flug, Executive Director, The Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives

 

“Our students found Roger Grunwald’s Mitzvah Project inspirational, imaginative and original. His commitment to honor his parents by telling the story of The Shoah to educate the next generation is remarkable but, what is truly uncanny, is his ability to make history come alive .” — Rabbi Joshua Spodek and Yehudis Benhamou, Scheck Hillel Community School, Florida

 

“Roger Grunwald’s performance was compelling, his presentation enlightening, and the entire evening a powerful experience for us all.” — Rabbi Ted Riter, Beth Israel Congregation, Jackson, MS

 

“Mr. Grunwald’s performance was brilliant!  The transition between characters was flawless and his lecture thought provoking.  We thank him for his presentation of this mostly unknown, but relevant piece of history with our community.”— Brian M. Kendall, Cultural Supervisor, Historic Fifth Street School, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Las Vegas

 

 The Mitzvah is a deeply disturbing performatory meditation on the malleability of human nature… In a world in which genocides continue and violence and barbarism are spreading, getting The Mitzvah performed all over the country is important.” — Dan Friedman, Ph.D., Artistic Director, Castillo Theatre​

 

“Roger Grunwald did an amazing job presenting The Mitzvah Project, his fascinating one-person show, lecture and talk-back.” — Heather Paul, Director of Student Engagement, Hillel at Stanford

 

“The Mitzvah Project was thought provoking… and haunting… Roger [is] a consummate professional… [who] demonstrated a vast knowledge of the subject matter…”— Frances B. Pearlman, Director of Lifelong Learning, Congregation Habonim, New York City.

 

“Roger… put on a stellar performance in our theatre…filled to capacity with college staff, students, and community members. The audience was absolutely spellbound by his remarkable portrayal...” — Ali Botein-Furrevig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, Ocean County College and Director, The Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies

 

What people are saying about

The Mitzvah Project

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