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The Short Season

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   MY PARENTS BLUNDERED badly in 1945, a year after I was born. They lived in what is today the South Bronx, and my father made the long commute to Brooklyn to work in the huge Navy Yard. The war years brought him prosperity as a welder of […]

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Channel Esther: Henry’s Tribute Last Night

by Esther Cohen I HAVEN’T been to the penthouse in years. Not since I left my job. And although I’d ordered drinks a week ago to avoid any problems they weren’t there and the man named Irving on the phone at Google Express couldn’t explain why. But the posters I worked on for years were […]

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A Yiddish Moment with Irwin Corey

by Hershl Hartman THE NEW YORK TIMES’ obituary for “Professor” Irwin Corey, “the world’s greatest authority” (February 7) recalled his “unrepentant leftist view,” his “admiration for Fidel Castro,” his being an “enthusiastic member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union” and describing himself as a “short Jewish atheist.” It also noted that “some network executives […]

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His Pound of Fresh

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: Shylock Is My Name, by Howard Jacobson. Hogarth Shakespeare, 2016, 288 pages. “He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am […]

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December 14: Sholem Aleichem on Television

The World of Sholom Aleichem was broadcast on this date in 1959, on David Susskind’s show, The Play of the Week. Written by blacklisted writer Arnold Perl (adapted from his 1953 Off-Broadway play), it was performed on camera by several actors who had themselves been victims of McCarthyism, including Morris Carnovsky, Jack Gilford, Lee Grant, […]

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Belafonte’s Uncompromising Career

A Fearlessly Progressive Star by Paul Buhle From the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical, by Judith E. Smith. University of Texas Press, 2014, 221 pages. LAST NOVEMBER, when Harry Belafonte accepted the “Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award” from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and […]

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September 29: The First Integrated Nightclub

Barney Josephson, who in 1938 founded New York’s first integrated nightclub, the Cafe Society, in the basement of 2 Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, died at 88 on this date in 1988. Formerly a shoe salesman, Josephson said that he “wanted a club where blacks and whites worked together behind the footlights and sat together out […]

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Sholem Aleichem’s Show Biz Triumph

by Bennet Muraskin From the Spring, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof, by Alisa Solomon. Metropolitan Books, 2013, 448 pages. It has been half a century since the Broadway opening of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964 — and a century […]

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May 9: Herschel Bernardi

Herschel Bernardi, a child of the Yiddish theater who became the first Zorba the Greek on Broadway and one of the last Tevyes in Fiddler on the Roof, died at 62 on this date in 1986. Bernardi was a victim of the anti-communist blacklist in the 1950s and played a role in the 1976 film […]

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