Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Auschwitz Rhymes with "Cow Shvitz" But That's Not What This Post Is About

In all seriousness, this project sounds interesting (the text is the press release I received). And if anyone is offended by the post title, it really comes out of the fact that we had a (rather weirdly lighthearted) debate at Back Stage today as to whether the word Auschwitz could be rhymed. If a musical took place in China many years ago in a sauna, for example, would "Mao shvitz"? Stuff like that. Again, if anyone's offended, please forgive me.

36 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280
(646) 437-4200

October 30, 2007

Betsy Aldredge
(646) 437-4337

Abby R. Spilka
(646) 437-4333

at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

NEW YORK, NY – In the wake of the Holocaust, destruction and misery elicited varied responses from Jews. Many cited their faith as a key element in their survival. For others, belief in God was quashed in the face of unprecedented pain and injustice. These two viewpoints come face to face in Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and David Brandes’ profound play The Quarrel, which will be presented on Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. A discussion with playwright and popular author Rabbi Joseph Telushkin will follow the performance.

Based on the short story My Quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner by Chaim Grade, and adapted from the 1991 film by David Brandes, the play opens in Montreal in 1948. Two friends — Hersh an Orthodox rabbi, and Chaim, a secular Jewish writer — meet after years apart, each thinking the other had perished in the concentration camps. With the events of Auschwitz fresh in their minds, the two debate the role and relevance of religion in a post-Holocaust world.

In one heated moment the character Chaim says, “At Sinai, God made a covenant with the Jewish people. At Auschwitz, he broke it.” The character Hersh responds, “It wasn't God who built Auschwitz. It was man.” The result of these characters’ struggle to understand one another is a play that “reaches … hearts, minds, and, dare we say it, souls,” according to Back Stage critic Irene Backalenick.

Tickets to this event are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $12 for members. Tickets may be purchased online at www.mjhnyc.org or by calling (646) 437-4202.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is the author of Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History, among other well received books including Why the Jews: The Reason for Anti-Semitism, which he co-authored with Dennis Prager.

About the Actors

Sam Guncler recently appeared in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Comedy of Errors, and led the cast of Winning at Theater Off Park in New York City. He has also appeared at Soho Rep, John Houseman Theatre, Theatre for the New City, Jewish Rep, and as a resident actor with the Phoenix Ensemble. His credits include Lenny, Sight Unseen, Prelude to a Kiss, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Normal Heart, I HATE HAMLET, and others.

Reuven Russell was trained at Carnegie Mellon and went on to receive his MFA at the prestigious Yale School of Drama. Highlights of his career include performances alongside Mickey Rooney and Donald O’Connor in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys.

Avi Billet majored in Speech and Drama at Yeshiva University, where he was president of the Dramatics Society. He was a Spielberg Fellow for two of the four summers he served as director of the drama program in Camp Moshava. Last year he appeared in the Center for Jewish History’s reading of Salvaged Pages. Avi holds a MS and Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva University and is a writer, drama coach, and mohel. On stage, he has performed in Broadway Bound, The Quarrel, Mister Roberts, God's Favorite, among other works.

About the Museum
The Museum’s three-floor Core Exhibition educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century--before, during, and after the Holocaust. Current special exhibitions include From the Heart: The Photojournalism of Ruth Gruber, The Other Promised Land: Vacationing, Identity, and the Jewish-American Dream, and Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall. It is also home to Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones, as well as James Carpenter’s Reflection Passage, Gift of The Gruss Lipper Foundation. The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a founding member of the Museums of Lower Manhattan.

Betsy Aldredge
Public Relations Manager
Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280
ph: 646.437.4337
fax: 646.437.4341

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