Jewish Theatre

by Barry Drogin

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To The Editor:

I think Michael Goldstein's cover story on Judaism on and off Broadway would not have upset me so much if he had explicitly stated what he means by "Jewish content." It becomes clear as the article progresses that, for him, it means, "Why are young Jews assimilating?" Since no plays address this theme, he concludes that "virtually none include substantial Jewish content."

But the Jewish lover of the AIDS patient in part one of "Angels in America" is obsessed with the moral implications of fleeing his responsibilities, and is condemned by a rabbi for it. Certainly those who consider Judaism to be a religion would be interested in debating the theology of part two, especially since its central holding of the abandonment of G-d is often cited by Holocaust theologians (Jewish and Christian), as well as trendier existentialists.

"The Sisters Rosensweig" is about how its major character has fled Judaism to become an upper-class Brit, and how she reacts to an encounter with an unashamed Jewish furrier, as well as her Jewish matron sister. In "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," they are concerned that their shtick isn't playing in Peoria --- one could very well ask which of the characters is not Jewish.

Mr. Goldstein's reference to "the Holocaust memorial sweepstakes" is tasteless. And despite the insistence of bookstores, the Holocaust is more than just an item of "Jewish interest," as evidenced by the national support and attendance at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A more thoughtful article would have been appropriate.

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Last Updated: August 4, 2007