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July 19, 2002 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-19

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Jewry's Role in
Human Affairs

Sharon Gene of West Bloomfield,
Our mission is excellence," said
whose daughter begins her third year
Rabbi Buckman, "and this gift is
at the JAMD this fall, said learning
financial excellence at its highest."
about the endowment made her week.
"I am so excited," she said. "For
Starting A Trend?
the parents who have been there
Rabbi Joshua Elkin, PEJE executive
from the start, this is such a breath
director, called the JAMD endow-
of fresh air. I hope whoever it was
ment "the largest endowment gift to
who made this gift gets to visit the
Jewish day high school in my
school and see what a wonderful
place it is."
The Perelman Day School, a
In addition to maintaining excel-
lence in academic and Judaic studies, Solomon Schechter elementary
school in Philadelphia, was the
Rabbi Buckman said the JAMD is
recipient of a $20 million endow-
working hard to fulfill its mandate
from clothing manufacturer
for diversity.
Kimmel earlier this year. At
"We're hiring more women to
the same time, Kimmel
achieve gender equality
also made a separate
among teachers; we're
$20 million donation
building bridges to con-
to the Philadelphia
gregations, especially
Reform congregations,
"There's remarkable
to achieve denomina-
between the
tional diversity," he said.
the Detroit
"We're also committed
Jewish community that
to economic diversity —
has led to such a visionary
this gift potentially
gift," Rabbi Elkin said.
could help in that
In addition to bene-
respect — and educa-
the JAMD, Rabbi
tional diversity, widen-
he hoped
ing the academic param-
eters of the type of stu-
dent we're successful
Robert Aronson
others to see that
Jewish institutions,
Rabbi Buckman said
such as day schools,
his colleagues in Jewish
camps and Hillel col-
day high school educa-
organizations, are
tion are "constantly
of receiving
astounded by the level
of support for our
"Like a major pebble
school by our
thrown into the water,
the ripples from this
Since its inception, the
contribution will con-
JAMD has received $1.1
tinue for years to
million in Federation
he said.
start-up and operating
the JAMD's
grants as well as various
inception, PEJE has
capital grants, said
made several grants to
Howard Neistein,
the school. In addition,
Federation's chief plan-
the Boston-based
ning officer.
organization has sup-
The 2002-2003 school
plied an experienced
year is the first year the
day school edu-
JAMD will receive a
cator, Bruce Powell, to
grant from Federation's
serve as JAMD madrich (leader),
Annual Campaign funds, in the
working on-site with JAMD leaders
amount of $150,000.
since before the school opened.
Michael Eizelman, chair of
"This gift sets a national prece-
Federation's Education Division,
said Powell, who is head of a
anticipated that the JAMD will
community high school
become a Federation constituent
of Los Angeles.
agency this fall.
"They've got a magnificent school
"They've done a tremendous job
there (Detroit) and, with that kind
of providing a very high-quality
of money, it has the solid potential
product while working within a
budget," said Eizelman, a member of to be the finest Jewish day high
school in America." ❑
Federation's ad hoc JAMD task

Not until the Renaissance did Jews in central Europe begin to evolve a
theatrical tradition entirely their own. At first, the stages were filled with
dramatic religious works performed in Yiddish and Hebrew. As the art
gradually spread across the Continent, comedies were added to repertoires.
Like minstrels of earlier times, Jewish storytellers, vocalists, puppeteers
and carnival clowns toured shteils and urban neighborhoods. Through the
ages these entertainments developed into a refined theatrical culture for
sophisticated audiences, giving birth and sustenance to many Jewish
performers who lent glitter to theater and films. Among them were:
(1844 - 1933) b. Paris, France The love child of a
Jewish-Dutch music teacher and an unidentified
father was educated in a French convent, but
remained proud of her maternal blood lines--even
as she became the best-known stage personality of
her day. Affectionately called "Divine Sarah" by
admirers on five continents, Bernhardt dominated
world theater for more than a half-century. Her
emotional range, charming and lyrical voice, and captivating, sensuous
presence on stage led to triumph after triumph in virtually every leading
-role she played.
Bernhardt's career flourished following her 1866 contract with the
04:kon theater and her appointment to the Comedie-Francaise in 1872. Her
reputation soared as the unsurpassed classical and romantic interpreter of
plays by Jean Racine, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and in title roles of
Shakespearian drama in French translation. Forming her own company in
1872, the slim beauty toured widely and became an international idol from
Egypt to Australia. Nine notable visits in the U.S. brought her to New York
City before clamorous audiences.
Her public mystique reflected a tempestuous personality and
reputed liaisons with Victor Hugo and the Prince of Wales. And her
indomitable and courageous spirit prevailed, despite the 1915 amputation
of a gangrenous leg injured years before in a stage accident. With dogged
determination, Bernhardt was borne by litter on battlefront visits to World
War One soldiers, and she once again toured America. The multi-talented
star also wrote several plays and a memoir, and was a gifted painter and
sculptor. She was made a member of the Legion of Honor in 1914.
(1895-1967) b. Lemberg, Austria. How one of
America's leading Yiddish performers reached
equal prominence in Hollywood and on Broadway
is the mark of a consummate actor who
transformed himself into widely varied stage and
screen characters. At once a Russian aristocrat or
crafty lawyer, Muni could easily recast himself as
an aged Orthodox Jew, an American gangster,
a Chinese farmer, an army deserter or a piano teacher. "the Man of Many
Faces" received a 1936 Academy Award for The Story of Louis Pasteur,
and such classics are replayed in film libraries and museums worldwide.
Muni began his stage career in Chicago at age twelve and while in
his early twenties he joined the Yiddish Art Theater founded by Maurice
Schwartz. But as immigrant Jews assimilated, English grew in favor and
Murii made his first. English-speaking Broadway hit We Americans in
1926. his exposure to the cameras came several years later while filming
The Valiant and Seven Faces, two of the first talkies. A deep, resonant
voice and remarkably versatile and powerful portrayals became his
Typecast as a criminal in the acclaimed 1932 features, Scarface and
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Muni was later seen syinpathetically
in The Life of Emile Zola and ,Juarez. In some ways his career mirrored the
"Americanization" of another famous Yiddish-speaking actor whose roles
mellowed in time: Edward G. Robinson. Alternating between theater and
films, Muni appeared in nineteen stage dramas and 22 motion pictures.
some of which are memorialized in entertainment history: Key Largo
(1939), Death of a Salesman (1949) and Inherit the Wind (1955) in live
performance, while The Good Earth (1937), Conunandos Strike at Dawn
(1943) and The Last Angry Man (1959) were screened. - Saul Statitnumer
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