Yehudit (Judith): A New Opera by Iris Karlin ‒ Reclaiming a Feminist Legacy


Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 9:15 pm EST
Location: Temple Emanu-El, New York City Lowenstein Memorial Auditorium 10 East 66th Street

Please join us for the premiere of Iris Karlin’s new opera,
Yehudit (Judith), a modern reinterpretation of a Chanukah legend.

In her creative and engaging opera, Iris Karlin, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music ‘24, serving as both composer and librettist, has redeveloped the story of Yehudit into a musical midrash (creative interpretation), with the intent of reclaiming an important feminist spiritual connection to the Chanukah narrative.

The “Holiday of the Daughters,” observed on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tevet (the 7th day of Chanukah), is a celebration in collective memory of the brave act of the legendary Yehudit, whose heroism saved the daughters of Israel from conditions of abuse. This observance honors a long-neglected rabbinical instruction not only to read the Scroll of Yehudit during Chanukah, but also to encourage women to light the menorah as if they were there with Yehudit, in celebration of their freedom to make decisions about their own bodies.

For her retelling of the story, Iris Karlin has developed a compositional style that integrates traditional and contemporary elements of Jewish music with the worlds of opera, operetta, and musical theater. Set for soloists, vocal ensemble, and orchestra, the work will be presented with staging and costumes, and conducted by Stephanie E. Leotsakos.


Admission is Free of Charge. Advance Registration Required.