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April 24: Barbra Streisand

Lawrence Bush
April 24, 2010

Barbra_Streisand_baby_pictureBarbra Streisand was born in Brooklyn (with an extra "a" in her name) on this date in 1942. Her earliest success as a singer came with an act at the Lion, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, in 1960, and was followed by an appearance on The Tonight Show in 1961 and a Grammy Award-winning first album in 1963. By the 1970s, Streisand was outsold only by the Beatles and Elvis. She was a cultural as well as musical sensation whose success legitimated Jewish feminine beauty, Jewish Brooklynese, and other aspects of Jewish identity that had too often been sources of shame and cosmetic surgery. Streisand has been a major supporter of the Democratic Party, civil rights activism, and organizations that support women's rights, nuclear disarmament, and environmental sanity. In 2000, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
“I arrived in Hollywood without having my nose fixed, my teeth capped, or my name changed. That is very gratifying to me.”—Barbra Streisand
Watch Barbra sing "Happy Days Are Here Again" with Judy Garland on The Judy Garland Show (October 4, 1963)

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.

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