Letters to Sala 10/21/16- Allison Cahill

Dearest Sala,
First, may I say it is such an honor to play your mother. I am so moved by your courage and faith that enabled you to save these precious letters and endure such a horrible time. I listen to every performance and am inspired further.
Last Friday started very very early with rain and cramped space for set up.
We were missing one of our actors until 10 minutes before start time. Everyone was so happy to see her safe and sound. We hugged and kissed her, helped her get dressed and set her props.
It felt like the cast knitted even closer together to each other.
This is a very special group of people. You would be so proud to see their work.
Before performances there is laughter and love bouncing all over the place as we set up, and then when the lights go down, everyone comes together with such focus and force to tell your story as sincerely as we can.
The emotions and tears are intensely real. We become one voice for you and your family.
The first audience Friday seemed a little scrappy. I was afraid they wouldn’t “get it.”But as the performance went on, they got quieter and quieter and I know they were moved by your story.
Their questions were urgent and heart felt. They really wanted to know “did Sala find her sisters?” “what happened to her parents?”.
They asked specific questions about the camps and events and Jena gave such detailed and articulate answers. We have learned so much from the knowledge and experience she brought back from Poland.
During the two hour drive to our next school in Akron, I got to sit in the back between Paige (Elfriede) and James (Chaim). We talked all about their hopes and dreams for their future. What they wanted to do with their lives, and I couldn’t help think, YOU were their age when you were taken to the camps.
The second school was downright elegant and collegiate. We were very warmly welcomed and ushered to a comfortable spacious room just off the stage, complete with tray of cookies and sweet orange/mint water.
It was wonderfully decadent.
The students were very well behaved and studious. Their questions were soulful. One little boy looked bewildered and asked, “What was the purpose of killing all those people.” I just started to cry because I remembered feeling like that as a child. Not being able to comprehend all the hate and murder of the holocaust.
It was also gratifying to see that your story touched and moved and CHANGED these students. The monumental feat of your saving the letters is helping to foster compassion and mindfulness in future generations. And so there is HOPE  they will grow up to be diligent adults who will create and defend a peaceful humanity.
It is truly humbling and a profoundly rewarding experience to share your story.
Thank you doesn’t say enough, Sala. We love you deeply.
Allison Cahill (Chana)

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