Watching a Hebrew play from 1981 performed in Yiddish may not be the most bizarre thing I’ve done for the Forward, but it was surprisingly important.
There’s a lot that’s perfect about doing Samuel Beckett’s classic play ‘Waiting for Godot’ in Yiddish. We just needed this new production to realize it.
A version of this post appeared in Yiddish here.
The year is 1943. The place is Warsaw. The ghetto uprising has been crushed, but one man, a Hasid by the name of Yosl Rakover, is still alive, and he is busy recording his sordid tale for posterity. After recounting the events of the last few years — the deaths of his children and grandchildren, the hunger that pervades his every bone, the sense of despair all around him — he insists: “If I were unable to believe that God had marked us for His chosen people, I would still believe that we were chosen to be so by our sufferings.”