by DeDe Jacobs Komisar, Development Manager
The big news around these parts is that Lifetime TV has made our own Anita Diamant’s iconic work, The Red Tent, into a miniseries. It airs December 7th and 8th, and stars Minnie Driver, Debra Winger, and some guys from Game of Thrones. Mayyim Hayyim is hosting its own screening of part one on December 2nd at Legacy Place Showcase Cinemas (get your tickets here while they’re still available).
For many, reading The Red Tent for the first time was a deeply meaningful experience. I asked around to see how some of the book’s fans are anticipating its transfer to the screen.
Anna Levin, a doctor who lives with her family in Israel, first read The Red Tent in high school as part of a class on Biblical texts and sexuality. “What really interested me was the idea of a female narrative of the familiar stories…What was really going on in the tent behind the mens’ stories?” While Levin generally thinks that movies don’t do justice to the books they portray, “I always end up watching the movie anyway…because of curiosity, I guess.”
Rebecca Missel, who works in development, also first read The Red Tent in high school. “It added another layer onto the stories of brave Biblical and modern women that I’d learned about. It opened the door to other great works of feminist midrash like The Five Books of Miriam, which remains my go-to for writing divrei Torah. The book also reinforced the notion to look between the margins for those who have been marginalized.”
Sara Bookin-Weiner works at the New Center for Arts and Culture here in Boston, and read The Red Tent this year, after meeting Anita Diamant at the Boston Jewish Music Festival. “Having an alternative reading to the stories I read in the Torah makes me feel empowered as a woman.” Bookin-Weiner says that the book inspired her to take a course on Jewish feminism.
Adina Verson, an actor, was given The Red Tent as a gift from a fellow ensemble member of pleasureD, a play she developed, wrote, and performed with two other women. The gift was “in honor of our womanhood.” Verson related deeply to Dinah, the central character of the book. “Her strength made me hugely proud to be a woman, and inspired me to be as strong as she is, in love, friendship and loss. Dinah inspired me to honor the family of sisters that we all are.”
“Of course,” Verson says, “I’m nervous for the movie! So much of the story is Dinah’s internal view of things, which is always tricky to transfer to dialogue.” But, Verson continues, “I’m excited to visit that world again.”
We hope you are, too. Join us tomorrow night and/or tune in on Lifetime next week!
DeDe is the Development Manager at Mayyim Hayyim. She also has Red Tent-icipation.