The shattered stained glass windows of the Zerrennerstrasse synagogue after its destruction on Kristallnacht. Pforzheim, Germany, ca. November 10, 1938. (USHMM/Stadtarchiv Pforzheim)
“Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.”
“Kristallnacht figures as an essential turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to annihilate the European Jews.”
Both of my paternal grandparents had arrived safely in the United States before the Kristallnacht of November 1938. And yet, among the stories my grandmother told over the years, the tale of how her parents and other loved ones back in Germany experienced the horrific events lodged in my mind and in my heart. Continue reading ›
If you follow my Practicing Writing blog, you may recall that over the past several months, I’ve been trying to learn a little more about playwriting.
As with much of my creative work, I’m drawn especially to the idea of writing a play with specifically Jewish content. (Actually, I might adapt a short story by another writer, although I’ve also considered adapting work of my own.)
Part of my learning process to date has consisted of attending plays and, to stretch a popular phrase, “watching as a writer.” In the past 10 days or so, in fact, I’ve seen three Jewishly-focused productions: “The Model Apartment” (Judith Miller’s review for Tablet echoes my thoughts on that one); “Bad Jews” (about which I’m less enthusiastic than Miller is); and the standout: “Arafat in Therapy.”
A solo show written and performed by Australian-Israeli Jeremie Bracka, “Arafat in Therapy” came to my attention via The Jewish Week. Its format and style remind me of Anna Deavere Smith’s “Fires in the Mirror,” which I saw many years ago in Massachusetts (although Bracka did not use interviews to shape his characters). Again, I’m struck by the extraordinary talents that are involved in writing and performing these solo shows that feature multiple characters.
My personal ambitions are much more modest. At the moment, my main ambition is simply to learn how to write a play. Ideally, I’d do this in a Jewish context.
And if the Schusterman Foundation funds my #MakeItHappen micro-grant proposal, “Jewish Playwriting 101″ will become a reality.
Read all about my idea. “Like” it! Share it! And let me know what you think about it!
“I didn’t write the book to defend Israeli policies, and I have never believed that, as a Jew, I should have to make the case for Israel’s existence to anyone. Whoever disputes it deserves to be scorned, not reasoned with.”
Source: Hillel Halkin, “Letters to an American Friend,” in Mosaic magazine.
This piece is a version of the introduction to a reissued edition of the book, which I’ve already pre-ordered.