Mitzvah Project Teaching Artists
“As a Mitzvah Project Teaching Artist, I am thrilled to share the story of my Uncle Julius who survived capture by the Gestapo and was responsible for single-handedly bringing my family to the states after the war. Were it not for Julius, I would not be around to tell his story… Now, after more than a quarter century in show business, I have the privilege of not only telling his story but of using my performing and teaching skills to help young people learn the critical lessons of the Holocaust. I hope that in doing so, I can play a part in creating a more hopeful and inclusive future.”
Professional Bio: On stage, Elijah has appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning production of Metamorphoses and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Tantalus, written by John Barton and under the direction of Sir Peter Hall. In regional theater, Elijah has played leading and featured roles at the Guthrie Theatre, Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep and the Old Globe. He was a company member at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 5 seasons and at the CalShakes for 3 seasons. His film & TV credits include “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “JAG,” and Guiding Light among others. He is currently co-starring in “The Chosen,” a biblical epic TV series. For more on Elijah, click on http://elijahalexander.net/bio
“When (Mitzvah Project co-director) Nancy Carlin asked me to join The Mitzvah Project company as a Teaching Artist, I jumped at the chance. I had seen Roger Grunwald's performance and presentation online and felt this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’ve always wanted to find a way to use my experience as an actor and teacher to engage young people and play a part in challenging the forces of intolerance, antisemitism, racism and white supremacy. And now, I can also weave my family’s story into my lesson. I am very grateful for this opportunity."
“My paternal grandfather’s family came from Zinkov, a shtetl in what is today southwestern Ukraine. In the late 19th century, decades before Hitler and his Holocaust, shtetl after shtetl were being ravaged by pogroms. It was then that my grandfather’s family chose to leave behind the only world he knew. For that reason, I count myself today as one of the lucky ones.”
Professional Bio: Rolf has lived and worked in the U.K. for many years during which time he appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 3 years, worked in repertory companies throughout Britain as well as in the commercial theatre on London’s West End. Rolf has also been seen on several BBC and ITV series as well as in Hollywood blockbusters “Saving Private Ryan” and “Mission Impossible.” Rolf received his formal acting training at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. For more on Rolf, click on https://rolfsaxon.com/bio/
“My mother was one of only eight relatives, amongst hundreds in my extended family living in Poland prior to WWII, to have survived or escaped the Holocaust. My great Uncle, David Olère, an artist, was the only survivor of Auschwitz to pictorially document the gas chambers. His brother, my grandfather, was a leader of the Jewish Bund, and fought in The Resistance against the Nazis. I am one generation away from these events. They are all too real for me. I am honored to be part of The Mitzvah Project, bearing witness, so that history does not repeat itself.”
Professional Bio: Victor is an actor, director, playwright, and educator. He has worked extensively on stages throughout the Bay Area as well in New York and leading regional theaters. He was on Broadway in the world premiere of David Mamet's, November; played “The King” in the Tony Award-winning production of the Broadway National Tour of The King and I and as Scar in the Los Angeles production of The Lion King. Mr. Talmadge boasts extensive film and television credits, as well. As a playwright, his play, The Gate Of Heaven, was awarded The Nakashima Peace Prize and was the first live theater produced at The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and has been subsequently performed at several major regional theaters. He is currently Professor of the Practice and Director of Theater Studies, Mills College at Northeastern University.