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January 10, 2003 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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A Place For Everything!

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• Weddings

• Bat Mitzvah

PHILIP AND ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

11

A biography of the late David Ben-Gurion,
first prime minister of Israel, says that he was
born in Poland, where his name was David
Gruen. I always thought that by changing his
name to Ben-Gurion he came up with something origi-
nal, but I was told that he was not the first person
with that name. Who was the first Ben-Gurion?
A: The earliest documentation of the name goes back to
the first century, C.E.
The Talmud, in the tractates Ketzibot, Taanit and
Gitlin, all mention Nakdimon Ben Gurion. In the last
years of the Second Temple, he was one of the wealthiest
Jewish citizens of Jerusalem. The Talmud .describes him
as pious, generous and patriotic. After the fall of
Jerusalem, he and his family were reduced to abject
poverty.

:

• Bar Mitzvah • Children

Q: One of my favorite Broadway musicals is Rogers
and Hammerstein's Carousel. I understand the show
has many Jewish roots. Can you explain?
A: Carousel is based on the tragicomic play Li/join by the
Hungarian-Jewish playwright and novelist Ferenc
Molnar (1878-1952).
The story tells of the handsome and charming but
loutish Liliom, who runs a carousel in •a seedy carnival
on the outskirts of town. A favorite of the women,
Liliom wants love but will not admit it; he wants suc-
cess, but cannot take responsibility.
• The naive Julie is attracted to him, but Liliom makes
her miserable, and he ends up taking his own life. A
heavenly court gives him a second chance to make
things right, but he botches that task, as well.
In 1909, the play premiered in Budapest. In 1921,
Li/join was staged in New York to great success. The
Vienna-born Jewish actor Joseph Schildkraut starred in
the title role.
In 1934, the Jewish -film director Fritz Lang made a
French version of Liliom that still is well regarded. It was
Lang's only film in French, and his first work after exile
from his native Germany.
The American-Jewish composer George Gershwin
approached Molnar with a proposal to turn Liliom into
an opera, but he was refused.
Molnar later relented to the almost constant appeals to
set the play to music and gave his approval to Richard
Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, both Jews. Carousel,
their version of the Molnar story, opened in 1945. It was
an immediate success and has become a classic of the
American musical theater.



• Families

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NO LATER THAN Tuesday, Jan. 14, to: I Found It! c/o AppleTree, The Jewish News, 30301 Northwestern
Highway Suite 200, Farmington Hills, MI 48334.

Warm Thoughts

Y

M

1/10

2003

66

WHAT'S EATING
HARRi KIRSBAUM?
www.detroitjewishnews.com

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