How to Give a Speech Like Mandy Patinkin

(JTA) — Mandy Patinkin has done Shakespeare and Showtime, Sondheim and “Oyfn Pripetchik,” but one thing he does not do is a dull after-dinner speech.

The legendary veteran of Broadway and screens large and small let it all hang out when he accepted the Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award recently from the dovish Americans for Peace Now on whose board he serves.

Over the course of 25 minutes, the famously intense Patinkin:

  • Quoted Psalm 137 (“If I forget thee O Jerusalem”)

  • Paused mid-speech to sing, from start to finish, a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Children Will Listen.”

  • Told a story of attending a Soviet Jewry rally in 1982 with his baby son and getting “bad vibes” from a man who turned out to be Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • Handed APN founder Mark Rosenblum blank white drawing tablets (representing “endless possibilities”) to hand to the governments of Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States, and to the writers’ room of “Homeland.”

  • Proposed that, if the peace process doesn’t advance, “Homeland” should do a season (or a spin-off) about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • Wrapped things up by leading the audience in a sing-along of the peace anthem “Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu.”

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How to Give a Speech Like Mandy Patinkin

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