Youthful circus troupe bridges Arab-Israeli divide
By Kristin E. Holmes
Jul. 20, 2012
Rabbi Marc Rosenstein had left Philadelphia for a life in Israel when he was inspired to make his own contribution to Middle East peace.
He founded a circus.
In Rosenstein's version, there is no big top, no stilt-walking ringmaster, but there are somersaults, airborne twirls, and juggling acts, all performed by a troupe of Jewish and Arab teens.
"I was looking for a cultural bridge," said Rosenstein, 65. The circus "is about overcoming fear, about trust; it's not language-dependent, and it makes people smile."
That is the mission of the rabbi's Galilee Youth Circus, a group of 60 members, ages 6 to 18, that Rosenstein founded in 2003. The troupe has been visiting Philadelphia this week, performing at locations including Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim in Wynnewood and the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, both in Philadelphia.