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Yiddish Book Center, a Film

March 31 - April 3

Pessa Leah (Weisz) consoles her daughter (Dylan Seder Hoffman)Pessa Leah (Melissa Weisz) consoles her daughter (Dylan Seder Hoffman). Behind: Rachel Botchan, Lori Leifer. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
The Yiddish Book Center presents a recorded performance of New Yiddish Rep’s recent production of Di Froyen (The Women) directed by Rachel Botchan.
This is presented in partnership with the New Yiddish Rep and as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish.
Purchase of a ticket will grant you access to a link to the recording from March 31-April 3.
There will also be a talk-back with the artists via zoom. Register for that seperate event here.

Di Froyentells the story of a woman from the Hasidic community of Brooklyn who has fled an abusive marriage and after being excommunicated and slandered, is being kept from her children. After two years, she gets a court order giving her visitation rights and returns with a secular Jewish social worker to enforce the order. She meets resistance from the women in her family until the story emerges that she has not actually abandoned her family, but fled for her life from a prominent husband who has a history of abuse. The women surrounding her are brought to realize what has happened. They ultimately unite to defend her and to empower women in their community suffering the same fate.

The Yiddish of the play reflects the evolving vernacular, sometimes characterized as “Yinglish,” that is spoken on the streets of Hasidic Brooklyn. Projected supertitles will enable non-Yiddish speakers to keep up.

This play is based on Women’s Minyan, a Hebrew play by Naomi Ragen that was based on a true story. Ragen’s play was adapted for New Yiddish Rep (NYR) by Melissa Weisz and Malky Goldman, who were both born into the Hasidic community.

Melissa Weisz (they-them) is an actor, writer and producer who grew up in the Hasidic community of Brooklyn and made their acting debut as Manke in the NYT critic’s pick God of Vengeance. Their TV credits include Unorthodox and High Maintenance. Their film credits include the award-winning films Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish,Felix et Meira and Tzadeikis. They were featured in Vogue’s American women in transformation and were honored by the Jewish Week magazine in their 36 under 36 -Millennials pushing change through compassion. Melissa was the subject of NBC’s viral video “Ex-Hasidic Woman Embraces her Queer Identity” and them’s video, “Can you be religious and queer?” They are the producer and host of The Forbidden Apple Podcast, which explores the complex relationship between queer people and religion/faith. (Melissaweisz.com)

Malky Goldman is an actor and writer currently located in New York City. Originally from Jerusalem, she relocated to the United States to study, and graduated from Hunter College with a degree in Studio Art.  Her creative portfolio spans several visual media disciplines that include film, theater and painting. Her most recent acting work includes a Chasidic horror film, The Vigil (Blumhouse/BoulderLight) directed by Kieth Thomas, which premiered at TIFF and is distributed by IFC. She also appeared in the Netflix mini-series Unorthodox, the HBO show High Maintenance and the film The Binding of Itzik by Anika Benkov. She has played Hedda Gabler, starred as Daisy in the Yiddish production of Rhinoceros by New Yiddish Rep, and appeared in NYR’s critically acclaimed God of Vengeance.

Director Rachel Botchan appeared in over 40 productions of the Drama Desk and Obie-winning Pearl Theatre Company.  She has also performed with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in several productions, most recently The Sorceress. With New Yiddish Rep she appeared in God of Vengeance. Regionally, she has worked at Two River, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep., Virginia Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, among others. She is also an audiobook narrator and teaches Shakespeare at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Performed by:
Caraid O’Brien
Rachel Botchan
Suzanne Toren
Lori Leifer
Dylan Seder Hoffman
Melissa Weisz
Amy Coleman

Set designer Mark Marcante
Lighting designer Alexander Bartenieff
Costume designer Malky Goldman.

New Yiddish Rep (NYR) (www.newyiddishrep.org) has endeavored since its founding in 2007 to move  Yiddish theater into a post-nostalgia, 21st century phase of development, enabling members of the Yiddish theater community by  giving them a platform to develop new works and explore classics of world theater, both in existing and new translations. At the same time NYR has worked tirelessly to develop new talent from native Yiddish speaking  communities by conducting  writing and acting workshops to help populate  a future generation of Yiddish actors and playwrights.

 

Start Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022

End Date:   Sunday, April 3, 2022

If you’d like to attend this event you can purchase tickets online.

TALK-BACK | New Yiddish Rep’s “Di Froyen” (The Women) | Sunday, April 3 @ 2 p.m. EST
A special talk-back and Q&A with “Di Froyen” co-writers Melissa Weisz and Malky Goldman, director Rachel Botchan, along with actor Caraid O’Brien and New Yiddish Rep’s director, David Mandelbaum. (In English)

This is presented in partnership with the New Yiddish Rep and as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish.

A recording of the production will be available through the Yiddish Book Center here: https://support.yiddishbookcenter.org/site/Calendar?id=8541&view=Detail

“Di Froyen” tells the story of a woman from the Hasidic community of Brooklyn who has fled an abusive marriage and after being excommunicated and slandered, is being kept from her children. After two years, she gets a court order giving her visitation rights and returns with a secular Jewish social worker to enforce the order. She meets resistance from the women in her family until the story emerges that she has not actually abandoned her family, but fled for her life from a prominent husband who has a history of abuse. The women surrounding her are brought to realize what has happened. They ultimately unite to defend her and to empower women in their community suffering the same fate.

This play is based on “Women’s Minyan,” a Hebrew play by Naomi Ragen that was based on a true story. Ragen’s play was adapted for New Yiddish Rep (NYR) by Melissa Weisz and Malky Goldman, who were both born into the Hasidic community. Directed by Rachel Botchan.

This live event will be presented via Zoom and will stream live on the Yiddish Book Center’s Facebook page. Space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience—which will allow you to submit questions—registration is required.

Venue

Yiddish Book Center
1021 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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Phone:
(413) 256.4900
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