Strengthening Jerusalem’s Women One Song at a Time

12 Sep 2016

unnamed“COUNT THE STARS – The Journey of Avraham and Sara”, a spectacular biblical musical about the couple that changed humanity with their faith and loving kindness, is one of the most exciting projects at the OU Israel Center this season. Two evenings a week, dancers, singers and gymnasts rehearse on every floor and in the stairwells too, in preparation of the November production at the Gerard Behar Theatre. Music fills the OU, along with the feeling of community, warmth and friendship.

This bi-product of rehearsals was the reason the WPC Jerusalem teamed up with OU Israel six months ago. They wanted to empower a women’s community in the center of Jerusalem with love of performance as their common language.

The WPC began its activities at the OU Israel Center during this past year’s terror attacks with monthly events that would create friendships and spread light during a dark time. They soon understood that the participating women wanted the community and harmony to continue onward. In addition to organizing their monthly performance- oriented programs at the OU, the WPC answered the requests of its participants to mount a full-scale production.

unnamed-2Sharon Katz and Avital Macales, two of the creators of the WPC Jerusalem, along with Shifra C. Penkower and Bati Katz, decided to bring their own original musical to the stage. Macales and Katz co-authored and co-composed “COUNT the STARS”. The show received rave reviews when it was performed in Gush Etzion two years ago by Raise Your Spirits Theatre, the first of four performance companies founded by famed women’s theater impresario Sharon Katz.

Now enhanced with new songs and more dancing than ever, “STARS” will wow audiences even more with its epic story of our nation’s birth. Avraham leaps to life through song, dance, laughter and tears, as he rejects a world of idol worship and escapes to create a revolutionary world of goodness and belief in one G-d.


In the starring role as Avraham, wearing padding and heels to beef up her delicate frame, is the most popular performer in Israel’s women’s theater today, singing superstar Avital Macales. Macales has stolen the hearts of audiences in lead roles from Raise Your Spirits, Modi’in’s Women in Theater, and Efrat Community Theater.

unnamed-1Cast again as Avraham’s trusty servant, comic relief and sidekick is Macales’ co- producer/co-author Sharon Katz. Women’s theater legend Sharon Katz is the founder of four thriving performance companies – Raise Your Spirits (2001), Dames of the Dance mega-dance spectaculars (2007), NOARoked teen dance productions (2014) and now the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem. Co-author of three other hit biblical music, Katz has also produced and performed in 17 different productions.

The Jerusalem production is directed by Shifra Penkower, choreographed by Judy Kizer with musical direction by noted choral director Ellen Macales.

Tickets are on sale now at To find out more about WPC Jerusalem and “COUNT THE STARS”, womens-performance- community-of- jerusalem/. Profits from “STARS” go to tzedakah to strengthen teenage girls in Israel’s periphery and to continue the valuable programs of the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.