In society, behaviour is everything .  You have to be seen to conform to the values and attitudes of the group, to belong, especially if you are in a minority separate culture like the Jews in North London.   You’re either in or you’re out. 

David is so anxious to be considered part of the Jewish community in Edgware, that he would sacrifice family, everything.   So when his son Danny, fighting in the Iraeli army tries to tell his father he is scared and wants to return home, David tells him that his loyalty to his men is more important; he has to do his duty.  But Danny is killed, and before he dies he testifies to his sister Ruth, a human rights lawyer working on a report about Israeli atrocities in Gaza, about the guilt he feels at having bombed innocent children in a school.  

Ruth is demonised by the community for her apparent criticism of the Jewish state and David is ostracised.  People like the appalling Saul, a gynaecologist and synagogue leader, withdraw their trade from David. 

So David is forced into a dreadful conflict.  Is he to bow down to the wishes of the community and stop his daughter attending the funeral or is he to support all of his children, acknowledge Danny’s fear and guilt and face down his society?  Can he support his family in the face of prejudice?  Can he understand and help his second son, Jonny, who is lost in drugs and meaninglessness?  Can he be proud of his daughter for her courage?  Can he feel compassion for Danny?   These are the components of David’s dilemma.  What’s more important, his society or his soul?  

Too much trouble in the world, too many wars,  are caused by the blind adherence to dogma, to attitudes laid down by a rigid and fearful society.   More people need to stand up for what they feel is right, to speak out.

Dare to be a Jonah!  Dare to stand alone!  How many of us would be confident enough in our own skin to face isolation in the service of what we feel is right?  

Henry Goodman plays David in Ryan Craig’s  new play, ‘The Holy Rosenbergs’ currently being performed at the Cottesloe.   Henry Goodman is for me one of our very best actors.  The Cottesloe the perfect intimate space for such a close family drama.   ‘Dare to be a Jonah’ is the motto that Tony Benn has attempted to live by.    

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