"Peace in the House" Theatre Celebrates Interfaith Cooperation in Minneapolis

February 8, 2006

Source: Minnesota Public Radio


On February 8, 2006 Minnesota Public Radio reported, "Modern news headlines are a constant reminder of religious conflict... But a concert in Minneapolis suggests there's another side to the story. David Harris has traveled extensively through the Middle East and North Africa studying Sephardic music. He says on his travels he heard stories he never saw in the headlines; people talking about how they miss their Jewish or Christian or Muslim neighbors of the past... Harris is the artistic director of Voices of Sepharad, a group that specializes in the music of Sephardic Jews. Following their expulsion from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews migrated throughout the Arab world. Harris says for years they lived side-by-side with Christian Arabs and Muslim Persians. He says in times of peace, rich music, literature and philosophy has come out of those same regions that are now in conflict... David Harris says for peace to be possible, people need to be able to visualize it, to know that it has existed - and persisted - in the past. The members of his company are a microcosm of the complexity and diversity within Sephardic culture. They encompass, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and while they all now live in the Twin Cities, they hail from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Jordan and India. They dance and sing on stage to the same music, the same rhythms, each with their own particular cultural stylings... [The performance entitled] Peace in the House, begins with the creation of the world, threads through medieval Spain and the post-expulsion times when Jews and Arabs lived together in the Middle East and North Africa, and ends with the lives of the performers onstage. Artistic Director David Harris says Peace in the House is about dealing with conflict and communicating across assumed cultural barriers."