Tag Archive for jewish classic

Broadway’s newest Fiddler is one for the ages

  Wonder of wonder and miracle of miracles, the new production of Fiddler On The Roof at the Broadway Theatre in New York — directed by Bartlett Sher and freshly choreographed by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechter — is good enough to make seasoned theatregoers forget that they ever saw a previous production of Fiddler or…

Review: The Rise of Abraham Cahan, by Seth Lipsky

From the Canadian Jewish News, January 2014 Ninety years ago, New York newspaper editor Abraham Cahan was at the epicentre of international Jewish affairs — not a newsmaker himself but an opinion-maker, someone who had an extraordinary and powerful influence on the Jewish masses in New York, around the Diaspora and in pre-state Israel. As…

“David Levinsky:” Cahan’s classic novel of Jewish immigration

Literary critics often express hallowed praise for writers who have contributed brilliant works to English literature but whose first language was not English. Two supreme examples come to mind. Polish-born Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) did not learn English until he was in his twenties, yet he became one of the language’s great novelists and story tellers…

Caught in a nightmarish Abyss of Despair

Born about 1620 in Ostrog, Volynia, Rabbi Nathan Hanover and his family were among the countless Jews in Ukraine and eastern Poland whose lives were disrupted by the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648 and the intermittent attacks that continued for years afterwards. Hanover travelled extensively over the region of devastation, speaking with many affected people and…

The enduring legacy of A. M. Klein

Ask any Jewish writer in Canada to name some of his or her most important influences, and before long the name of A.M. Klein is certain to arise. In an unofficial survey of contemporary Canadian writers whose works explore Jewish themes or feature Jewish characters, this writer found that almost all of them were quick…

Zangwill’s ‘Melting Pot’ a Century Later

One hundred years ago, in September 1908, British writer Israel Zangwill’s influential play The Melting Pot premiered in New York, simultaneously winning widespread popular acclaim and sweeping pans from the critics. When Theodore Roosevelt saw it, he leaned over the edge of his presidential box and exclaimed “That’s all right!” in great apparent satisfaction. But…

Yezierska: From the tenement to Hollywood

Who today has heard of the American writer Anzia Yezierska? Her life was the sort of rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags tale that she specialized in telling in her short stories and novels like Salome of the Tenements and The Bread-Givers. She and her large impoverished family sailed from Poland in the 1890s and settled into a cramped tenement…

World of Our Fathers endures as a classic

Irving Howe (1920-1993), the New York intellectual who was a zealous socialist all of his life, received what he called his fifteen minutes of fame from a remarkable scholarly achievement that seemed a world apart from his leftist political convictions. His book, World Of Our Fathers, which was published in 1976, became a national bestseller…

Dubnow’s classic History of the Jews in Poland and Russia

Born in Belarussia, and later a resident of St. Petersburg, Odessa, Kovno and Riga, Simon Dubnow (1860-1941) published his first essay about the Jews of Russia in 1880, and understood at a relatively early age that the subject would always be of particular significance for him. He wrote in his diary in 1892, “My life’s…