Passover, "Les Mis" Style by the Forward

Passover, "Les Mis" Style

“Les Miserables” is an epic tale of suffering, oppression, and one man’s quest to find himself. Is it just me, or have we heard that story before?

No, sadly, Victor Hugo was not a secret Jew. But Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, who wrote the lyrics of the famous musical, are. Schönberg was born in Vannes, France, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, in 1944. Boublil, a Sephardic Jew, was born in Tunisia in 1941.

So perhaps it’s fair to say they picked up the similarities between Jean Valjean, a ex-convict on the run from the law who seeks to reinvent himself once he hears God’s call, and Moses — not to mention the living conditions for the poor in 19th century France, akin to Egyptian slavery.

The Maccabeats —the all-male a cappella group out of Yeshiva University — took notice of the parallels and the opportunity was too good to pass up. From “Look Down” to “Do You Hear The People Sing,” it’s a sight to behold.

Author

Anne Cohen

Anne Cohen

Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg , she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.

Passover, "Les Mis" Style

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Passover, "Les Mis" Style

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close