The Foundation is pleased to offer our grantees the opportunity to share information about their grant on our website.  We hope it will offer the public increased visibility for your work.

Terms and Conditions. This form is intended for those who have received a Puffin Foundation grant.  By filling out this form, you will be requesting Puffin to post information about your granted project on our web site.  Please fill out the form carefully.  It includes the option to provide an email address for the public to contact you, as well as providing an email address for the Foundation to use internally that would not be made public.  Note that if you include personally identifiable information in your public content, it can be used and viewed by others.   We are not responsible for the information you choose to include in public content.  The Foundation reserves the right to edit any submissions for size and appropriate content.  If you wish to give photo, audio or video credit for submissions, such credit should be included in your text under the description of your project.


The Hebrew Lesson

Ouray, Esther
Year Grant Awarded 2012

Email >
State > MN Zip Code > 55407
Website >

The Hebrew Lesson is a 60-minute one-woman play written and performed by Esther Ouray, with live music by composers and musicians Tim O’Keefe, Maryam Yusefzadeh and Greg Herriges. The play is directed by Zaraawar Mistry. Its creation was made possible by a Naked Stages grant supporting the creation of new works. The Hebrew Lesson was performed only twice in Nov 2010. Eight performances of it over two weekends in March 2012 were independently produced at Dreamland Arts in St. Paul MN.

The Hebrew Lesson was inspired by this personal experience:
In 2007, Esther Ouray, a Minneapolis-based theater artist, traveled to Israel and Palestine on a delegation with Interfaith Peace Builders, an organization committed to justice and peace in the Middle East. Esther’s father had passed away a year earlier, and she decided to bring his ashes with her. Her desire was to spread her father’s ashes from the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, as a tribute to him. But as Esther traveled within Israel and the Palestinian Territories, she became witness to the complex historical, political and social injustices of life there. When she finally ascended to the top of the Mount of Olives, she was forced to reconsider her plan. This experience inspired The Hebrew Lesson.

Working with director and dramaturge Zaraawar Mistry, a piece of theater was crafted that combines personal narrative, folklore, and contemporary politics. Rooted in Jewish cultural music and imagery, The Hebrew Lesson asks its audience members to reflect upon their relationship to the charged politics of Israel and Palestine, and their individual connection to their ancestral homelands. The play is at once a personal story of a woman’s journey to her ancestral home, as well as a political call towards accepting one’s responsibility to embrace truth and to oppose the perpetuation of injustice.

The story is structured around an interactive, light hearted Hebrew lesson of six words. The lesson is interrupt