Ted Merwin |
Special To The Jewish Week
On the surface, no two people seem farther apart than the movie star from Beverly Hills and the famous German refugee rabbi. But Richard Dreyfuss, now appearing as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in Colin Greer’s “Imagining Heschel” at the Cherry Lane Theater, feels a profound kinship with the character he plays.
He may not have achieved the popularity of his fellow Yiddish writer, Sholom Aleichem, but I. L. Peretz (1852-1915) was also a heavyweight of Yiddish literature at the turn of the 20th century. While the author of the “Tevye” stories was known for his folksy brand of humor, Peretz was inspired by chasidic folklore to express the mystical resonances in Jewish tradition.
Last spring, Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New Yorker, approached David Remnick, the magazine’s editor, about writing a story on the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Most editors would jump at any story idea by big-name writer, but The New Yorker has luxuries other magazines don’t.
As the rest of our society turns toward Halloween, we brave our own demons on Yom Kippur, in a particularly Jewish way that points toward the possibility of redemption. In Gavin Kostick’s new play, “This is What We Sang,” presented at the Synagogue for the Arts in Tribeca, five generations of a Jewish family in Belfast search their souls on the Day of Atonement to come to terms with the tangled, century-long past of their people and their region.