Our escape room will dramatize the genealogical discoveries made by Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull in his quest to rediscover his family’s lost connection to noble past. I came across his book that for an inexplicable reason captured my imagination:
In Jeffrey's own words: "The book takes the reader on a great historical adventure, beginning in Medieval France around the time of the Crusades, and ending in modern day America. In-between, the book traces the history of a family of noble Jewish descent over the centuries, as they migrated across the European continent until they found themselves in the Russian Empire during the latter part of the 18th century. As part of this journey, I guide the reader down the same path that I followed in discovering the family’s ancient and noble heritage. By the time that the many wars, rebellions, pogroms, expulsions, persecutions, and other historical events behind this migration are explained, the reader has formed a strong connection to, and interest in this family. The book then continues with the family’s immigration to America. From their arrival at Ellis Island, and gradually spreading out across the continent “from sea to shining sea,” six generations of the family have flourished and struck deep roots in the country that embraced them."
I was amazed that he restored every single ancestral link connecting himself to the Shpoler Zeide, Rabbi Pinchas Koritzer, Rashi, and ultimately King David. As Jews, we are daily surrounded and comforted by the stories of their mighty deeds, their Torah. My idea was to make the visitors of our escape room a part of the stories from their lives.
We re-enacted an Ellis Island office, complete with suitcases with belongings, documents where each item is a key to a lock somewhere. The dates and names all tell a story of the Polonsky (later to be abbreviated Paull) family journey from Europe to America.
Once the journey timeline is complete, a new dimension of the space is revealed ushering the visitor deeper into the room, and yet deeper into Dr. Paull's past. The visitor will find himself in the world of the Shpolar Zeide: being able to touch the objects he cared about and play a part in his legendary mitzvah of redeeming the captives. Everything is a part of the escape, everything plays a role in the solution. No object is there without reason, just like the life of a tzaddik is precisely measured to a second!
Throughout these 60 minutes, one will feel a part of Dr. Paull's journey to reconnect with the Zeide, and perhaps hear his own righteous ancestors beckoning to come closer...