December 10, 2019
Two weeks ago, I’m sorry to report, the statue of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, in Kiev, was vandalized with swastikas.
Perhaps you heard about this vile act of anti-Semitism and were rightly enraged.
But maybe you might like to learn a little bit more about the beloved writer who created the character of Tevye the Dairyman and inspired the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
If so, I highly recommend checking out the excellent documentary “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.
Directed by Joseph Dorman, this 2011 film not only chronicles the life of Solomon Rabinovich, who wrote under the pen name Sholem Aleichem (which literally means “peace be upon you” and was a standard greeting), but it examines some of his best stories as well as the turbulent times for Jews in Eastern Europe which influenced him.
December 2, 2019
The tragedy that comes after tragedy is a lot less dramatic, but its melancholy can be beautifully poignant.The tragedy that comes after tragedy is a lot less dramatic, but its melancholy can be beautifully poignant.
This is evident in the 2017 independent movie, “Menashe,” which was filmed in the Hassidic neighborhood of Boro Park, Brooklyn, and is almost entirely in Yiddish.
The story is set one year after the sudden and tragic death of Leah, who has left behind a husband and son, neither of whom have quite adjusted to life without her yet.
May 15, 2019
With Memorial Day coming up, my thoughts turn to family members who served in World War II. My great uncle Irving fought in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. And my cousin Sol fought in France and Belgium. With Memorial Day coming up, my thoughts turn to family members who served in World War II. My great uncle Irving fought in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. And my cousin Sol fought in France and Belgium.
I never met Irving, who died before I was born, but I heard stories about his war experiences and came across some of his war-time correspondence in my Grandmother’s papers after she passed. I was particularly moved by a poem Irving had written describing Italy as a place of both beauty and horror.
Sol I was fortunate enough to know.
July 23, 2018
The last few days have seen renewed controversy over Holocaust denial thanks to comments Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the other day.
In defending Facebook’s policy of refusing to take down accounts that promote false information, Zuckerberg said, “I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong … It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent.”
Zuckerberg argued he was trying to balance the priorities of “giving people a voice” and “keeping the community safe” by drawing a fine line between direct incitement to violence and false information. Those who claim the Holocaust never happened often stop short of telling people what to do with those lies.
As a Jew, Zuckerberg should know better. Holocaust denial has a long history of rousing up anti-Semites to believe Jews have tricked the world into getting preferential treatment and should therefore be punished.
April 19, 2018
The 1996 made-for-TV movie, “The Man Who Captured Eichmann” gives us two amazing performances by Robert Duvall and Arliss Howard. Unfortunately, it takes about half the film before you can get to that.The 1996 made-for-TV movie,
Everyone knows that, in 1960, Israeli Mossad agents found SS officer Adolf Eichmann hiding in Argentina and brought him to justice for trial in Jerusalem.
This film tells the little-known story of how the agents were able to identify him, seize him, and hold him for ten days in a safe house before sending him to Israel. Duvall plays Eichmann and Howard plays Peter Malkin, the agent who headed the team that captured him.