Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Inside Leadership
Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh in a scene from The Soap Myth

Film and television stars Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh headline The Soap Myth, a play by Jeff Cohen about a cantankerous Holocaust survivor on a crusade to convince Holocaust museum curators that the Nazis manufactured soap from the corpses of murdered Jews.

Asner plays the survivor; Feldshuh plays dual roles of a scholar and a Holocaust denier. They are joined by Drama Desk Award winner Ned Eisenberg in various roles and by Liba Vaynberg, who portrays a young journalist struggling to sort out the historical truth.

I caught up with playwright Jeff Cohen to get his take on...

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Scene from the play with Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce

A man escorts you inside an unmarked cabaret club on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Interior décor: worn brocade wallpaper, mirrors, red light fixtures, a painting of a scantily clad burlesque dancer.

Following a striptease act by Pearls Daily, we see a lifeless man sitting naked on a toilet. Slowly Lenny Bruce comes to life, animated by the show’s playwright and star, Ronnie Marmo in a 90-minute tour de force performance.

“Let me tell you how I got here. I was born Leonard Alfred Schneider, October 13th, 1925. I was an only child. My parents were divorced when I was very...

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Rabbi Spratt and others working with a bar mitzvah student at the lecturn on the bimah

Rabbi Benjamin Spratt serves as senior associate rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, where he is also rabbi-in-residence of its school. Currently, he is the commentator for the Book of Leviticus in Reform Voices of Torah, part of the Ten Minutes of Torah series, which explores all facets of Jewish life and to which readers can subscribe. I asked Rabbi Spratt to tell us about his unusual Jewish journey and to share some of his insights into the third book of the Bible. Growing up in Salt Lake City, UT, what were some of your early Jewish...

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Rabbi Larry Raphael

In 1996, in an effort to realize his vision of creating a literate and involved Reform Jewish community, then UAHC President Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie inaugurated the Department of Adult Jewish Growth and chose Rabbi Lawrence Raphael, formerly a dean at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), to serve as its founding director. At the end of his tenure at the Union in 2002, Rabbi Raphael became senior rabbi at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, CA.

Rabbi Raphael, z”l, died on March 17, 2019 at the age of 74. The following is excerpted from his conversation...

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A black and white photo of the late Al Vorspan with a pipe in his mouth looking off into the distance

Albert Vorspan, z"l, a giant for social justice, died on February 17 at the age of 95.

When Al helped organize the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in the nation’s capital, he could not have imagined that some 70 years later, he’d be viewed by many as a giant of social justice – even as a modern Hebrew prophet.

What did Al have in common with Amos or Micah or Isaiah? Like them, Al was not afraid to speak truth to power. Though he never claimed to be God’s spokesperson, Al felt commanded by the Torah’s ethical values and a love of humanity.

In 1964, Al was...

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