The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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The Girls Who Code club met together in Sierra Hall, on Friday, Sept. 15, in Northridge, Calif. Club members played around with a program to create a virtual game.
The CSUN club that’s encouraging women in STEM
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CSUN’s Girls Who Code club is just one of many across many campuses and countries, including 110 in...

Students form a crowd for DJ Mal-Ski on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 in Northridge, Calif.
Matador Nights carnival makes a splash at the USU
Ryan Romero, Sports Editor • September 21, 2023

The University Student Union hosted “Matador Nights” on Sept. 8 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The...

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock by FiledIMAGE.
Women’s Soccer has Closed the Competitive Gap
Luis Silva, Reporter • September 19, 2023

There is no longer a significant competitive gap in the sport of women’s soccer. There is a brighter...

The line for concert merchandise on the second night of The Eras Tour in Paradise, Nev., on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
My experience at The Eras Tour
Miley Alfaro, Sports Reporter • September 18, 2023

It’s been a long time coming. I began watching The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift’s ongoing concert trek,...

Within the Oaxacan town of Asuncion Nochixtlan, we find my mother’s birthplace, Buena Vista. Photo taken July 29, 2023.
I Love Being Mexican
September 12, 2023
A student holds up a sign during a rally outside of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2023.
CSU board approves tuition increase amid protests
Trisha Anas, Editor in Chief • September 15, 2023

The California State Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a 6% tuition increase for the next five...

group of mena and women touching hands
Miracles In Action Restores Patients’ Lives and Actualizes their Potential

“Behind the Gates” deals with family and real-life issues in Israel

In the first minutes of Wendy Graf’s play, “Behind The Gates,” profanity constantly escapes Bethany (Annika Marks). Her darkened eyes look straight into the pupils of whoever dares to hold a stare back at her. She complains about Los Angeles being superficial and disgusting, about her parents being inconsiderate, selfish, and not her real parents after all.

“Behind The Gates” is Wendy Graf’s latest play, directed by David Gautreaux. It had its worldwide premiere on May 13 and ran until July 3 at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center in West Hollywood, Calif.

The cast included Robyn Roth who graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre.

Bethany begins resembling the stereotypical rebellious teenager America has witnessed or at least heard of, but before the audience’s eyes begin to roll, Graf’s play takes a turn far from disappointment. The audience suddenly finds itself in a trip that holds the power to either destroy or bring back to life any human soul, destination: Jerusalem, Israel.

The play’s slogan is “A Parent’s Worst Nightmare” but this only describes part of the play’s focus, which also touches on a handful of serious concerns and real-life issues going on in Israel concerning the ultra-Orthodox haredi community and its strict social norms.

As “Behind the Gates” takes off, the audience understands that Bethany was adopted by American Jews, Susan Leiberman (Keliher Walsh) and Jerry Leiberman (James Eckhouse).

In the opening of the first scene, Bethany is 17-years old and loathes her parents who decide to send her off to Israel to a prestigious school that they hope will help her gain some discipline.

Once Bethany arrives, Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox haredi community becomes extremely appealing to her. She says she feels like she belongs because she is no longer surrounded by superficiality.

She becomes so involved to the extent of changing her name to Bakol. After several months, her parents don’t hear a word from Bakol, and they become worried and fly out to Israel to find her.

Mea Shearim, an actual town in Jerusalem, is where Bakol. In this ultra-Orthodox Jewish community women aren’t allowed to wear red, show their arms, neck line, or any part of their legs, or speak to men in public. These acts are considered sins along with electronic devices and the Internet.

After a meticulous search, Bakol is nowhere to be found, her father becomes hopeless and decides to fly back to Los Angeles but her mother stays behind to continue the search.

The incessant search of Bakol by her mother takes the audience through a journey in which questions about culture, religion, the clash of ideas and beliefs between the West and the East.

In the end, there’s the question of whether it’s Bakol or Bethany who will be found. Meanwhile, her mother and the audience also are also transformed by the unforgettable, eye-opening journey of this search.

Perhaps it can be argued that it isn’t just Bakol who her mother is looking for but she’s also looking to prove her love for her daughter, Bakol. Perhaps redemption and a second chance is what she is after.

In the end, the audience will be captured by the perseverance of the female characters whose unpredictable quest revolves around love and struggle between a mother and daughter, self-discovery, tolerance, spirituality and the ultimate backbone – love.

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