An ebullient Mandy Patinkin cool in a black V-necked sweater, cargo pants and sneakers, now the beardless former acting CIA director Saul Berenson on Showtime’s hit series “Homeland,” bounded up the stage at the Center for Jewish History at the YIVO-Institute for Jewish Research December 8 tribute to Yiddish ethnomusicologist Chana (Eleanor) Mlotek who died at 91 last month.
“If you asked me to pick one blessing that means the most — other than my wife and children — I would choose Zalmen Mlotek and [his parents] Chana Mlotek and Yosl Mlotek teaching me my [articulation] lessons so we could make a CD called “Mamaloshn.”
Crediting Oscar Hammerstein with the line from “Carousel” — “As long as there’s one person in life who remembers you — it isn’t over,” Patinkin said: “I will forever see Yosl and Chana Mlotek celebrating life and raining joy on all of us.”
Accompanied on the piano by Paul Ford, Patinkin sang a favorite of Chana Mlotek “Unter Dayne Vayse Shtern” (“Beneath your white stars”). Patinkin noted that: “Chana and Yosl will be with us forever…in every song they preserved, every life that they touched, and we are blessed to have them in our lives and it will never end.”