Israel arguably has two indigenous peoples, and as Shakespeare wrote, “aye, there’s the rub.” This is the dilemma another bard, Stephanie Liss, explores in “On Holy Ground,” two one act plays that premiered November 18 at the The Met Theatre in Los Angeles. The first, “Daughter of My People,” stars Salome Jens as Henrietta Szold, a rabbi’s daughter born in 1860 Baltimore. Sitting onstage in a chair with Julie Simpson’s sparsely decorated set suggesting Jerusalem, Jens convincingly unfolds Szold’s saga. Frustrated in romance, Szold sublimates her love when she sails to the Holy Land. There, the Zionist is appalled by Jewish conditions in Ottoman-ruled Palestine. “The land of milk and honey was in everyone’s hands but the Jews,” she laments.
“It’s a shanda (outrage)!” exclaimed Bruce A. Phillips of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles Campus. He was reacting to the cessation of the American Jewish Year Book after a successful run of more than a century by the American Jewish Committee.
The results are in from the National Museum of American Jewish History’s poll to select the 18 individuals to be featured in their “Only in America” Hall of Fame. The results are not too surprising. Of the 18, six are women, and their names are familiar to most: Henrietta Szold, Golda Meir, Barbra Streisand, Emma Lazarus, Estee Lauder, and Rose Schneiderman. If you follow the Jewesses With Attitude blog, you’ve probably heard of Rose Schneiderman, as she’s a favorite at Jewish Women’s Archive, but of the six women I would guess she has the least amount of name recognition, so I’m pleased that she made it into the final 18.