Skip to comments.Ellis Island and Beyond: Ah, America "The Golden land"
Posted on 11/27/2012 5:35:30 AM PST by Cronos
The Golden Land has a lot of historical plot to condense as it chugs through a two-hour rendition of the entire New York Jewish immigrant experience, from the 1880s to the 1940s. In montages and medleys, partly in Yiddish and partly in English, we are transported to Ellis Island, the Lower East Side, the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, union protests, two world wars, the Holocaust, the migration to Harlem, an adaptation of King Lear, a confrontation with Ivy League admissions quotas and the founding of a Jewish state.
But this show isnt really about individuals, anyway. As evidenced by Roger Hannas tremendous set, whose steel-wire suspension backdrop evokes the Brooklyn Bridge, the musical is actually a love letter to America and, particularly, New York, for all the opportunities they have given to immigrants of all faiths.
Gebentsht iz Amerike America is blessed indeed.
(Excerpt) Read more at theater.nytimes.com ...
In 1793 when the commonwealth was partioned for the last time and disappeared, there were nearly a million jews and these lands of partioned Poland during the 19th century was where the greatest growth in Jewish population occured -- before the exodus to America the Polish-Lithuanian lands (which are now divided between Poland, Belarus, Ltihuania and WEstern Ukraine) were home to nearly 80% of all Jews in the world.
In the words osponsa No. 73 of the great Cracovian rabbi Moses Isserles 'Remuh' (1510-72): "It is better to live on dry bread, but in peace, in Poland." -- and the Hebrews had a pun calling Polonia/Polin as 'poh-lin': Here, one rests
In the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth the Jews managed their own affairs, under Prussia and Russia they were forcibly assimilated .
Yet in the P-L, Jewish life flourished -- it was here that Elimelech of Leżajsk from 1717-87 taught the role of the zaddik, creating Chassidism, founding rabbinical sBełz, Międzybóż, Góra Kalwaria.
Jews gave their lives in the cause of restoring the Polish-Lithianian commonwealth -- because it was home to them. They did this in the November upriing ofr 1830-1 and prior during Kościuszki's uprising.
The uprising of 1861 land its failure led to the rise in Zionism (of moving to Israel) and the Russian pogroms increased that, with Jews from Lithuannia-Belaus (called Litvaks comign to Poland)
In aanother Hebrew pun, 'polonia' is read as poh-lan-ya (God rests here)
Judaism in P-L pempire and in 1264 Bolesław Wstdliwy ggranted them a charter. Twere under royvel around the country without molestation,m to engage in trade, to prusue their own religious practises, including synagogues, jewish burial and ritual slauger and to be exempted from slavery or serin 1351 more Jews escaping from GErmany came to the P-L from 1564, Sigismund I (the bold) encouraged Jewish immigration frthat the English threw out the jews in the 1200s).
And if we are not careful, the same fate will befall the Jews here in the USA -- at the hands of Moslem Obama