Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Inside Leadership
Star of David on wrought iron gate leading to old cemetery

The 25th anniversary re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List this month has reignited criticism as well as praise for the Oscar-winning film.

A recent story in the Forward, titled “What’s Wrong with ‘Schindler’s List?’ Kind of a Lot” revived the main complaint of the movie’s detractors. It quotes Liel Leibovits, who wrote in Tablet that “the movie, really, is about a Christ-like gentile who saves a horde of hapless Jews who have no agency or resolve of their own.”

Speaking at a 1994 Village Voice symposium, Art Spiegelman, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his...

Read More

Dancing scene from Fiddler on the Roof

The sun never sets on the small Russian shtetl (village) of Anatevka and its colorful inhabitants? Why, you may ask?

Because the hit musical Fiddler on the Roof has been entertaining audiences non-stop around the world since its Broadway debut in 1964.

And now, thanks to the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (People’s Stage), a Yiddish version by Shraga Friedman (with English and Russian subtitles) has reached the American stage. Directed by Joel Grey (best known for his role as the emcee in “Cabaret”), Fiddler Afn Dakh is a sensation, playing to full houses and standing...

Read More

Shards of broken glass

Today Jews will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), the pogrom in Germany and Austria in which 91 Jews were killed, more than 30,000 imprisoned in concentration camps, and hundreds of synagogues and Jewish-owned shops set ablaze. It was the first large-scale attack on German Jews in the Third Reich.

We remember Kristallnacht as we mourn the 11 victims of the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.

What happened in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue attack is frightening, but we must guard against drawing direct parallels...

Read More

Noah benShea, author of the Jacob the Baker series of books

Noah benShea is the international best-selling author of the Jacob the Baker series, translated into 18 languages. Jacob is a poor but pious baker who lives an anonymous life and writes notes to himself, trying to make sense of his life, until one of his notes is accidentally baked into a loaf of his bread. When a woman finds the note and Jacob is “discovered,” suddenly people from near and far come to Jacob with their questions about life, loss, prayer, and love. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) had a significant hand in the creation of the original Jacob the...

Read More

Crop of Marilyn Monroe on the cover of New York Sunday News magazine

The upcoming auction of Marilyn Monroe’s personal prayer book is making news. According to the catalogue description, the siddur contains many pencil notations in the margins, possibly by Monroe, when she was learning about Judaism.

Monroe converted to Judaism on July 1, 1956 by Rabbi Robert Goldburg, then spiritual leader of Congregation Mishkan Israel in New Haven, CT, who officiated her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller on the same day.

Shortly after her death on August 5, 1962, Rabbi Goldburg wanted the record to show that he and Monroe took the process of conversion...

Read More