BIU Alum Shirly Baitel-Nativ Launches Writing Career with Help of Rohlik Foundation Scholarship

Shirly Baitel-Nativ
Shirly Baitel-Nativ

What would happen if the world had no women, and out of nowhere a man receives a package with a new product — a woman. Of course, he would need instructions on how to operate this woman. This is the intriguing premise for a new play "Operating Instructions," written by Bar-Ilan University alumna, Shirly Baitel-Nativ.

"Operation Instructions" received excellent reviews earlier this year when it was among the featured plays in the Tzavta Theater Festival for Playwrights held in Tel Aviv. It was selected to have a permanent run at the Tzavta Theater, contingent upon funds being successfully secured by this October to cover production costs.

Baitel-Nativ, who earned her Master's degree in Comparative Literature from Bar-Ilan with the help of a scholarship funded by the Rohlik Foundation in Detroit, is a versatile writer. Along with writing plays, her novel "Portrait" was published in 2001. In addition, she has written numerous songs for major Israeli singers.

"I am always pleased to learn about the accomplishments of students who receive a Rohlik Foundation scholarship. It was wonderful to hear that our funds helped Shirly gain the education she needed to be a successful playwright, author and song-writer in Israel. This is exactly what the late Sigmund and Sophie Rohlik would have hoped for when they established the Fund with the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University thirty years ago," said Richard Polk, secretary of the Foundation.

The Foundation supports Jewish educational institutions at all levels. A major part of its educational funding is Jewish day schools in Detroit and Israeli universities, including Bar-Ilan.

Baitel-Nativ's play is an outgrowth of her Master's thesis on how women are featured in the plays of Shakespeare and Israeli playwright Nissim Aloni. Along with her writing, Baitel-Nativ is a private tutor for children who need help with remedial reading. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Special Education from Bar-Ian.

"Bar-Ilan is like a second home to me. Having grown up with a religious background, Bar-Ilan's emphasis on Jewish studies appealed to me," said Baitel-Nativ. She added, "I decided to pursue my Master's degree there because of all my positive experiences as an undergraduate student at the University. Thanks to the Rohlik Foundation scholarship, I was able to invest all my time in my studies, which helped me earn my MA with High Honors."

Baitel-Nativ, 35, lives with her husband, Moshe, in Giva't-Shmuel. To learn more about her play, you can reach her at shirlybn [at] gmail [dot] com

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