Staged Reading of “The Spanish Prayer Book”

Date: Mar 20, 2022

Sponsor: Public Lectures and Events

Location: JTS

Category: Public Lectures & Events

First New York City Presentation, Part of JTS’s Opening Season

Sunday, March 20, 3:00 p.m. ET
and Monday, March 21, 7:00 p.m. ET

In Person at JTS

Join us for a staged reading, and the first New York City presentation, of The Spanish Prayer Book by playwright Angela J. Davis. Inspired by true eventsincluding a connection to The JTS Library—this intimate drama is set in motion by a plan to auction rare Hebrew manuscripts decades after their disappearance in 1941 Berlin. The discovery that the books are worth millions, but were mysteriously removed from a cultural institution dissolved by the Nazis, results in a moral dilemma over the ethics of auctioning them for profit. Director Susan Einhorn leads a cast of veteran actors for this special event. Sponsored by The Library of JTS.

A discussion with the playwright and guest speakers will follow the March 20 performance. In addition, The JTS Library will offer a pop-up exhibit of some of its outstanding Haggadah manuscripts to enrich your experience of the play.

“We are particularly excited to present this play, both because of its dramatic focus on the displacement of sacred books in wartime and and the JTS connection to the real-life story that inspired the play.”
Professor David C. Kraemer, JTS’s Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian

An intimate drama that cross-cuts between 1941 and 2007, The Spanish Prayer Book explores the allure of sacred manuscripts, the ethical issues generated by cultural treasures displaced during wartime, and the power of art to forge human connections.

Once in a while, only too rarely, a new play of ideas comes along that . . . speaks to an increasingly inhumane world of what it means to be humane. The Spanish Prayer Book  is one such work . . . a literary descendant of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia . . . an intricate, beautiful, and important new play.”
—Steven Leigh Morris 

About the Playwright

Angela J. Davis is the author of The Spanish Prayer Book (The Road Theatre Company 2019–20 season, LA Times Best Bet), AGATHE (2020 New American Voices Award – the Landing Theatre, 2021 SETC Getchell Award for Outstanding Full-Length Play, 2021 Jane Chambers Award Finalist and Honoree), Clara and Serra and The Talking Bear (commissioned in 2020 by Antaeus Theatre Company), and Griswold (2021 A is For Playwriting Prize, 2021), among other plays. Recent work presented/forthcoming at Playhouse on the Square, Playhouse Creatures (NYC), the Landing Theatre, Antaeus Theatre Company, Sohaya Visions (London), Chameleon Theatre Circle, HRC Showcase, the Road Theatre Company, the Blank Theatre, the Dayton Playhouse, and elsewhere. She has also authored poetry and prose pieces appearing in the Antioch Review, Art/Life, and a University of Iowa Press anthology, and was one of sixteen writers selected as Literary Hosts for the 2018 PEN America LitFest. She holds degrees from Stanford and UCLA. Website:

About the Director

Susan Einhorn has directed over 85 productions of international and American classics and premieres of new plays, musicals, and operas (many of which have been published after her productions) at NYC theaters such as Promenade, Circle-in-the-Square, Westside, Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, LaMama, Open Space, and Theater for the New City, as well as at prominent regional theatres such as Pittsburgh Public, Syracuse Stage, Arena Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Studio Theatre, and the Whole Theatre. She is a newly retired professor of theatre emerita at Queens College, where she headed the acting program for 38 years.


All attendees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. You will receive a link to submit your proof of vaccination in your confirmation email after you register. Proof of vaccination should be submitted immediately after you register to ensure that you will be allowed entry into the building. (Current JTS students, faculty, and staff do not need to resubmit proof of vaccination.) All attendees must wear masks at all times inside JTS, except when eating or drinking.

About Opening Season

Join us this spring to experience the very best of JTS. We’re celebrating our new campus with a season of events exploring the intellectual, artistic, and religious breadth of Jewish life. We’re looking to the future, with bold conversations that bring Jewish thought into dialogue with the issues challenging our world.