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The Schmooze

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kate McKinnon Attend ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ In Yiddish

The rabbi, learned and wise, is the most important member of any shtetl.

That is, unless Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon show up.

That’s just what happened on Tuesday night at Stage 42, the Off-Broadway theater where the Folksbiene’s celebrated Yiddish-language revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” is playing.

The 86-year-old justice was as surrounded by rabid fans as she might have been if she had appeared at, say, the Kotel or at a law school graduation. Fan pictures on Twitter show her resplendent in her typical off-duty look of an embroidered robe, throwing up her hands as people swarm her.

In comparison, Emmy-winner and star of “Saturday Night Live” Kate McKinnon, appears to have enjoyed a night of virtual anonymity. But the 35-year-old’s presence didn’t escape the eagle-eye notice of Jackie Hoffman, the Hollywood actress who plays Yente the Matchmaker, who tweeted — “The fabulous Kate McKinnon was at our shtetl tonight wearing stilettos, which I am calling shtetlettos.”

Ginsburg and McKinnon, who often impersonates her on “Saturday Night Live,” posed for a picture together, dazzling a room full of — no-doubt — extremely overwhelmed fans. Legendary actor Joel Grey, the production’s director, gave both women a backstage tour, as musicians and tzit-tzit-wearing actors looked on.

Tradition means the most beloved Jewish Supreme Court justice watching “Fiddler on the Roof.” And tradition, which to Jewish people has always required both staying the same and evolving, means welcoming a non-Jewish, lesbian cutting-edge American comedian to the shtetl, too.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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