Monthly Archives: January 2015

Review: Bad Jews – Joshua Harmon’s new play about faith, family and funnies

© Robert Workman – Bad Jews

Daphna is angry. She’s back from her Ivy League college and is storming petulantly around a claustrophobically small studio apartment like a disgruntled toddler. Her cousin Jonah (Joe Coen) tries relentlessly to ignore the young tyrant as she moans about the fact that Jonah’s brother Liam (Ilan Goodman) has missed their Poppy’s (grandpa) funeral because he was skiing in Aspen with his girlfriend, who isn’t even Jewish. This opening scene sets the audience up perfectly for what’s to come – an hour and a half of increasingly un-passive aggression that’s full of belly laughs.

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Interview: Ela Weissberger – One of the stars of the original Terezin production of Brundibár

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As a brand new Mahogany Opera Group production of Hans Krása’s Brundibár, the 1938 short children’s opera famously performed in World War II concentration camp Terezin (German Theresienstadt), comes to the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival this February,  Ela Weissberger (pictured), who created the role of the Cat spoke to Judi Herman before she left her New York home to address the Scottish Parliament for Holocaust Memorial Day.

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Review: Mark Hayhurst’s debut Taken at Midnight plays a timely reminder

Taken at Midnight © Alastair Muir, Jan  2015

Penelope Wilton as Irmgard Litten, John Light as Dr Conrad © Alastair Muir

Jews have long lived with the idea that the Holocaust is incomprehensible in large numbers and that examination of individual stories provides greater understanding of the whole. Now there’s a trend for understanding what happened in Germany through stories of individuals who supported or opposed the events at the time; think of Zone of Influence by Martin Amis, for example, a love story set in the German officers’ quarters at an extermination camp.
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In pictures: How the world is marking Holocaust Memorial Day and 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz survivors paying their respects in Poland © Getty

Auschwitz survivors paying their respects in Oswiecim, Poland © Getty

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. We commemorate with a look at how the world is memorialising the Holocaust.

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Salon success! Find out how Howard Jacobson and more dazzled at the first ever JR reception

Howard Johnson and Janet Suzman at JR Salon, Jan 2015 © Charlotte Mayhew

We enjoyed our first Jewish Renaissance salon on Sunday 18 January as much as we hope all of you did. This exclusive event for our subscribers was held at Lord and Lady Lipworth’s house in St John’s Wood and featured Howard Jacobson in conversation with Janet Suzman (pictured above), with a performance by virtuoso violinist Irmina Trynkos.

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Review: Jerry Herman’s Grand Tour is a breathless, though tuneful chase across war-torn Europe

The Grand Tour – Zoë Doano (Marianne), Alastair Brookshaw (Jacobowsky), Nic Kyle (The Colonel) - Jan 2015 © Annabel Vere

© Annabel Vere

There’s usually a good reason why largely forgotten material from the oeuvre of a master such as Jerry Herman remains forgotten. The Grand Tour had the shortest run of all Herman’s shows and has not even achieved some form of cult status among the cognoscenti, despite US actor Joel Grey starring as the original Jackobowsky.

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A heartening wonder of the modern world – JR readers enjoy another year at Limmud

limmud 2014 session

It was as an amazing experience as ever. I have been going to Limmud for 13 years and can never get over how a team of young volunteers, changing yearly, can put on such a huge event with its problems of feeding and housing 2,500, let alone running hundreds of stimulating sessions each day. It is a heartening wonder of the modern world. And this year even the food was great (congratulations Manchester-based Celia Clyne Banqueting).

There were of course many JR readers there and I asked a few about their best Limmud experience.

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