“He lived in a dream world,” says an acquaintance of Michael Waszynski, a Yiddish film master who became a prince, “because film is a dream.”
Two months — that’s all it took to transform a 1920’s-style black gown into a shimmering, salt-covered piece of art. Israeli artist Sigalit Landau submerged a dress — a replica of the traditional Hasidic one worn by the character Leah in the seminal Yiddish play “The Dybbuk” — into the Dead Sea in 2014 and…
Television’s golden age ran roughly from the late 1940s to the early 1960s — a quaint period in which not a single Jersey housewife or Kardashian made it on the air. Instead, viewers were treated to classical theater and original productions from the likes of Paddy Chayefsky, Gore Vidal and Rod Serling. Great actors and directors such as John Frankenheimer and Marlon Brando earned their chops in these early productions.
S. An-sky’s “The Dybbuk” is arguably the most famous play and film in the cannons of Yiddish theater and cinema. Written in 1914 and first produced by the Vilna Troupe in 1920, “The Dybbuk” is an otherworldly tale, based on Jewish folklore collected by An-sky during a three-year ethnographic expedition through Russia and Ukraine. In the play, Leah, the daughter of a rich merchant, is possessed by the dybbuk of her suitor Hanan, who died after Leah’s father opposed the match. Though an attempt is made to exorcise the Dybbuk and allow Leah to marry her new suitor, she ultimately chooses to unite with her first lover in death.
Is Broadway ready for dancing girls in the Warsaw ghetto? Can an American musical high kick through the darkest moments of Jewish history and still avoid giving offense, or worse, falling into kitsch?
With the opening of San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay’s (JCHS) new building on Ellis Street in 2002, the city’s organized Jewish community finally returned to the Fillmore. Only local Jewish history buffs appreciated the significance; the neighborhood in which the school is situated — now called The Western Addition — was once San Francisco’s Lower East Side, albeit on a smaller scale than the section of Manhattan to which it is compared.