"What we want is for people to start to deal with the Holocaust -- to talk about it," says Gedalia Besser, co-artistic director of Israel's Haifa Municipal Theatre. "It's not only to remember, it's how are we today dealing with this problem. Because I'm not sure it can't repeat itself."

As part of its first U.S. visit in its 25-year existence, Haifa will perform Yehoshua Sobol's "Ghetto" -- a story based on a Jewish theater group's struggle to survive in a Polish ghetto of Vilna during the Holocaust (Tuesday through Thursday at the Kennedy Center). "The Vilna ghetto was a microcosmos of the whole world," says Besser. "There was a theater, a cabaret, musicians, merchants and businessmen during the whole thing, but the men who decided what was going to happen were the politicians."

Friday through Sunday Haifa will stage Sobol's "The Soul of a Jew" -- which recounts the final hours of Otto Weininger, the Jewish anti-Semite and anti-feminist philosopher who wrote a book called "Sex and Character" that was later used as a foundation for Nazi propaganda. Both plays, which are being presented by the American National Theater, will be performed in Hebrew with simultaneous English translation. For further information call 457-8345.