“I feel so proud of our theatre’s accomplishments,” Bryna Wasserman, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene ‘s Executive Director told the packed house at the Museum of Jewish Heritage Edmond Safra Hall at its December 12 Yiddish music-centered “Golden Gala” honoring Liev Schreiber.
“We have survived the past years just as the Jewish people have survived for thousands of years…and now we are the keepers of the torch, infusing the Jewish community with the Yiddish soul that was at the heart of its creation…. Today we continue the tradition” said Wasserman who led the Folksbiene for five seasons and has earned—among her kudos— the top award for last season’s spectacular hit revival and Drama Desk-nominated musical, “The Golden Bride” [which-I saw four times (!) and to which I took three daughters, four grandchildren a son-in-law—all of whom “blown away” by the production].
“As I walked into the dark, silent theatre in the museum late last night,” said Bryna “I tried to think of how I would thank the artists, the board, the supporters, the staff of my family…. I turned to what Jacob Adler had written in 1926—almost one hundred years ago— ‘I have my memories of the Yiddish theatre, memories I must set down. For the story cannot be told in records and documents. Only lit with the tears of living witnesses, can the world understand how with our blood, with our nerves, with the tears of our sleepless nights, we built the theatre that stands today as a testament to our people…. It belongs to a future generation, part of their life, their culture, their history.”
Golden Globe nominee and Tony winner Schreiber thanked Folksbiene for perpetuating Yiddish culture by encouraging young people to participate in a living inclusive enterprise. “Yiddish” he said, “is that perfect manifestation of who we are as Jews…. No matter your religion, your affiliation, your age or your orientation, Yiddish is here to be enjoyed and celebrated.”
Christopher Massimine NYTF’s executive producer, announced that there are plans to launch a National Tour of “The Golden Bride” in 2018, the first NYTF production to warrant this kind of national exposure.
In this my final Forward column [after nearly 40 glorious years of covering the Who’s Who and the What’s What of the Jewish cultural, communal, diplomatic, Holocaust-related world] —I want to not only tout Zalmen Mlotek— NYTF’s Music Director—Conductor— Artistic Director, but to remember his parents —Chana and Yosl Mlotek—without whose nurturing, input, inspiration, talent and commitment to Yiddishkeit—NYTF past, current nor future productions could have been realized.
Zalmen’s father—Yosl Mlotek [Yiddish educator and Forverts??]—had—as a teenager in pre-war Warsaw been my “baby sitter” enabling my parents to attend events. At the same time Yosl published a children’s magazine called “Kinder Frayndt” (Children’s Friend) and during the summer was a DJ on a radio program broadcast to the children at the Medem Sanatorium—a refuge for inner city children to which I was sent [1938/1939].
Yosl Mlotek and my father (Matvey Bernsztejn) both worked at the YIVO in Vilno [1940/41] and post war both worked for the Forverts. Yosl, my mother and I were on the same 12-day Trans-Siberian train journey to Vladivostok as well as passengers aboard the “Asakura Maru” that took us to the Japan’s port Tsuruga. Yosl, my mother and I and several other “khaverim” lived in the same house in Kobe, Japan and in the evenings—Yosl would lead us refugees in singing Yiddish folksongs. He and the late Amik [Abe] Brumberg [same train, same ship] organized a surprise 10th birthday party for me attended by—among others —Sheva Zucker’s [publisher of “Oyfn Shvel”) then dashing young father Meyer Zucker.”
Zalmen’s mother, Chana Gordon—YIVO founder Max Weinreich’s secretary —had been my “boss” during my after-school job in 1946/47/48 at the YIVO’s then 123rd Street base. I still remember the day Chana returned all aglow from a conference in Los Angeles where she met Yosl. Their partnership in rescuing and publishing Yiddish songs, poetry and folklore is a monumental gift to the Yiddish world.
Apropos Zalmen’s dedication to and nurturing of the Folksbiene—there’s the Yiddish saying: “Dos epele falt nisht vayt fun beymele” (the apple does not fall far from the tree).
Nominations rolled in Monday morning for the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, and there’s plenty for us to get excited about.
From “Transparent” to Natalie Portman, we rounded up all of the Jew-iest shows and Jewish actors to get a nod this year.
The award show, hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon, will air live Sunday, January 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. PST and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST.
Jonah Hill, “War Dogs”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Hailee Steinfeld, “Edge of Seventeen”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Tracee Ellis-Ross, “Black-ish”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
After nine years and two kids, Naomi Watts and Liev Schrieber may be getting ready to say “I do.”
“While Naomi and Liev have had their ups and downs, including a cancelled New Year’s Eve wedding right before 2008, they’ve finally worked out their differences and are rethinking marriage,” a friend of the couple reportedly told RadarOnline.
Watts, 45, and Schrieber, 46, have been together since 2005, when they met at the Met Costume Institute Gala. They have two sons, six-year-old Alexander and five-year-old Samuel, and seem to be raising their kids somewhat Jewishly: On a 2009 family trip to Israel Schreiber was seen wrapping tefillin with his older son at the kotel. The family also planted trees in Galilee with Jewish National Fund.
According to RadarOnline, the disaster that was Watts’ foray as Princess Diana for the aptly named biopic “Diana” ultimately brought the couple closer together.
“Naomi and Liev are more in love than they’ve ever been and are definitely serious about getting married,” the unnamed source said. “It’s a big step after all this time, but they’re ready to marry.”
Tattoo aficionados continue to be intrigued by One Direction’s Harry Styles’ tattoo of his sister Gemma’s name in Hebrew on his left bicep. Either he or the tattoo artist had to have known Hebrew well enough to know an accent mark was needed over the gimel to denote the “j” sound at the beginning of the name.
Esquire may have named Mila Kunis the Sexiest Woman Alive, but the New York Daily News thinks she’s the shlumpiest. The paper has pointed out that the actress has been seen out and about almost exclusively in sweats and other sorts of casual wear.
And speaking of fashion, Jerry Seinfeld, caught by a reporter at Stella McCartney’s pre-fall presentation, admitted that his wife Jessica has forbidden him from wearing his signature white Nike sneakers anymore.
A number of celebs—including Liev Schreiber, Mandy Patinkin, Julianna Margulies and Paul Rudd— are participating in the “We Are Better Than This” videos for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The latest on Bethenny Frankel’s divorce is that she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, tearfully sharing that she feels like a failure because her marriage did not turn out like a fairytale.
Gerard Depardieu is not the only French actor wanting to leave France. Mathieu Kassovitz has said (again) that he has had it with the French film industry. He doesn’t really have a beef with French tax law; he just wants more freedom to be an artiste.
On the topic of awards, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is leading the BAFTA nominations, but the director himself was snubbed. And in other tough news for Spielberg, his “Robopocalyspe” sci-fi saga has been delayed indefinitely.
Screenwriter Mark Boal exhibited a sense of humor about the controversy surrounding “Zero Dark Thirty” as he accepted the best film award from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Poor Evan Rachel Wood took to Twitter to lament the public’s obsession with the lives of celebrities…like Evan Rachel Wood.
Remember that romantic Hawaiian get-away Lea Michele took with her beau Cory Monteith? Well, now we’ve learned that her parents Marc and Edith Sarfati were along for the holiday.
Do not count Howard Stern among the fans of “Girls.” The shock jock had absolutely nothing nice to say about the show, or about Lena Dunham, whom he called a “fat…camera hog” who looks a bit like Jonah Hill.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt fans will get a kick out of this video of the actor’s first interview, from back when he was 14 years-old and on “Third Rock From The Sun.”
In the latest celeb sightings we have: Jason Segel toting some “I Love NY” bags as he departed from JFK; Lea Michele in bright yellow at the Fox All-Star Party, and a mini hot pink number at the People’s Choice Awards (where she won for best comedic actress); Adam Levine appearing pleased to accept, on behalf of Maroon 5, the People’s Choice Award for best band; Rachel Weisz looking lovely in a floral print dress at a New York screening of her new film, “The Deep Blue Sea”; and a very put-together Anne Hathaway and hubby Adam Shulman at the National Board of Review Awards.
The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation’s brand new PSA has Liev Schreiber, Larry King and Edward Zwick — along with a former partisan and her granddaughter — inviting the public to JPEF’s tribute dinner scheduled for November 7 in New York. In particular, these celebrities are asking the public to spread the word about the tribute to any partisans who are still alive and to their families and friends. JPEF hopes to have as many former partisans as possible attend the dinner to be honored, along with all partisans who fought the Nazis and their collaborators in WWII.
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