Although they rank high among Nobel Prize winners, Jews are not generally known for their athletics. But as “Chasing Dreams” at Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History demonstrates, baseball has fielded its way through the American Jewish psyche, from its very beginnings.
The drummer known as Tommy Ramone passed away on Friday due to bile duct cancer. Though he was only 65, he was the last living original member of the Ramones, and instrumental in the creation of punk rock as a musical genre.
Tommy was born Erdélyi Tamás in Budapest to two Holocaust survivors; the couple had hidden with neighbors for the duration of the war. The Erdélyi family immigrated to the United States when Tamás was four.
As reported last week, a 1954 handwritten letter from Chief Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog to the author of the book “Judaism in Islam” was offered at auction by Kestenbaum & Company. A private collector in Los Angeles, Alan Stern, bought the letter for $9000.
I don’t often swoon in public, but the Morgan Library’s current exhibition “Marks of Genius: Treasures from the Bodleian Library” left me breathless. It was dizzying, standing before 57 magnificent artifacts representing 2,000 years of intellectual and artistic accomplishment, from cultures, countries and religious traditions that ranged from around the world in place and time. And among them are several of particular Jewish interest.
Yiddish melodrama popped up last week, just yards from the elevated tracks of the 7 train in Queens, at a theater so discreet its name is Secret. Target Margin Theater there presented Allen Lewis Rickman’s enormously enjoyable translation of Isadore Zolotarevsky’s “Gelt, Libe, un Shande” – “Money, Love, and Shame.” Once, perhaps, a play with both pain and laughter, the passage of time has rendered it pure comedy.
"The Merchant of Venice," like many of Shakespeare’s middle “comedies,” is often considered a problem play: the language is dense, the final courtroom scene fraught with near-tragedy, and for even the most casual observer, the language is steeped with anti-Semitic vitriol.