March 8, 2008
Briefs: Olympic-Pico traffic plans on hold; Pearl lecturer says Israel is not surrounded by hostile
(Page 2 - Previous Page)John McCain is fixated on the concept of honor, but is also a fun guy to be around.
Voters may not be up on all the policy arguments, but they are very good at judging the character of the candidates.
Obama is less overtly pro-Israel than the other candidates, but American support for Israel is stable and will continue.
Israel is surrounded by unstable countries that are not nations but families with weapons.
All journalists should go out and interview at least three people each day.
[Liberals] feel it's OK to drive a luxury car, as long as it's made in a country hostile to U.S. foreign policy.
It's not the fish that are important, but the water they swim in. Translation: A nation's leadership is less important than the cultural and social mores, which define a country's foreign policy.
The next U.S. president will face a series of insoluble problems, but we will muddle through.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Valley Torah Musical Gives Name to 'Unknown' Survivor
For decades after Masha Bruskina was executed by the Nazis in Minsk, a photo of her snapped just prior to execution was published in several Soviet textbooks and exhibits, but her identity was always listed as "Nietzvesnaya," "unknown." That anonymity was turned on its head when "The Harvest," a play filling in the details of Bruskina's life, was produced off-Broadway in 1995, and this week the show debuts in its musical version in a production by Valley Torah High School, an Orthodox school in Valley Village with 85 girls.
Both the author, award-winning playwright and librettist Jennie Staniloff-Redling, and composer Deeann Macomson, are flying in from New York for the show.
Redling, herself of Russian Jewish descent, came across Bruskina's photo and was intrigued by the unnamed women. Research led her to two recent books on Minsk, which revealed that although researchers had identified the woman in the photo in 1968, the Soviets persisted in using the "unknown" caption.
Redling filled in the scant information known about Bruskina, who was 17 when she was executed, to construct a play where an angel-like character guides Masha, an aspiring actress, through figuring out how to fulfill her life's purpose. With the German invasion, Bruskina joins the Partisan resistance. Her spiritually infused journey ends when she is caught smuggling goods out of a hospital, and she is executed.
The play was produced at the Mint Theater in New York in 1995, and Redling was finishing up the musical version when Lisa Robin, a Valley Torah mother, contacted her last year about using the script for the school's annual production. The Valley Torah production, which is open to women and girls only, will be the first time the entire musical version is produced.
Robin had worked in film production and acting before she became Orthodox about a decade ago. She directed 30 girls (playing male roles, as well) and enlisted another 20 to work on the set. A live orchestra will accompany the musical. She said the girls particularly relate to Masha and the other characters, because many of the actresses are the same age as the characters.
"I really can work with these girls on a different level, really teaching them how to act, because this is a serious and wonderful script," Robin said.
"The Harvest," Sunday, March 9 at 7 p.m. and Monday, March 10 at 8 p.m. at Bancroft Middle School Theater, 929 N. Las Palmas Ave. The show is open to women and girls, ages 10 and up. For tickets or more information, call (818) 581-9290.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
Leo Baeck Institute Appeals for Archival Materials
On her recent visit here, Carol Kahn Strauss, director of the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI), made an urgent appeal for "documents and artifacts that record German-speaking Jewish life" that may still be in the hands of immigrant families from Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland. Addressing some 80 guests at the residence of Dr. Christian Stocks, Consul-General of Germany in Los Angeles, Strauss stressed that this has become "very urgent because the survivor population is getting older and the second generation has no idea of the value of the papers. Our legacy is a proud one ... and we are interested in the papers of survivors as part of the continuum of our people. Let them not get lost or be discarded."
Dr. Frank Mecklenburg, LBI's archivist, said that among the most desirable items sought are diaries, memoirs, letters and correspondence, family records, diplomas and certificates, passports, membership and ID cards, photographs and other items that will help scholars understand the fabric of Jewish life in German-speaking countries.
Aubrey Pomerance, director of archives of the Jewish Museum, Berlin, who accompanied Strauss and Mecklenburg, stated that the LBI sends all its microfilms to Berlin where they are digitized by the Jewish Museum.
"These materials have already had a tremendous effect on research and scholarship in Europe," he added.
The Leo Baeck Institute is the principal repository for the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry, located in New York, Berlin and Jerusalem. In addition to its archives, the LBI maintains a reference library and art collection. It also organizes exhibits and a variety of educational programs, seminars and symposia.
For additional information or to donate materials, contact Dr. Mecklenburg at email@example.com.
-- Peter L. Rothholz, Contributing Writer
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