- Yiddish theatre was then the main stronghold of preservation for Jewish immigrants.
- MOLLY PICON, the diminutive Jewish-American actress who has died at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, aged 93, was the leading exponent of Yiddish drama during its golden age in New York in the early part of the century; an outstanding performer on the international variety stage between the World Wars; and a notable legitimate player on Broadway and in London in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Prized most of all was the collection of classical poetry - from John Donne to Robert Browning - which enhanced the Hebraic and Yiddish verse that had been with him from the first.
- We need have no reservation that such memories, not least the sounds, entered deeply into the young boy's consciousness, as his mother gave vent to her distress in English and her native Yiddish, as well as symbolically rending her clothes and chanting the dirges.
- Leonard's ears, from his earliest moments, were conditioned to hear not only his mother talking but also singing in her lovely, deep alto voice the Yiddish lullabies she had known since her own childhood.
- He loved to speak Yiddish, and every Sabbath would find family and guests, rabbis and friends, some of them world-famous, discussing the sermon, the latest books (of which he had a very fine collection), Jewish history and literature - in Yiddish, Hebrew and English.
- As a teenager she toured America playing Topsy in a Yiddish version of Uncle Tom's Cabin; and after several years in rep at Philadelphia, in such plays as The Silver King, Medea and The Kreutzer Sonata, she spent three years in cabaret and variety.
- And we may see another reason for the ambiguity in Leonard: Ashkenazi Jews expressed themselves in Yiddish, which was not merely their language (resting on 16th-century Middle High German and many Slavic loan-words) but in a particular sense a reflection of their world, their universe.
- It was natural, too, for his unattached son to be smitten by the courage and buoyancy of Masha Klinitsky-Klein - whose name in Yiddish, appropriately, means "brave".
- But she would never forget the very different lifestyle of her early years - she was 20 when they emigrated; the veneration of her father and her father's father, the gross insecurity under which they lived; the ever-present threat of injury and loss, and the belittling malice; experiences which moulded and coloured her whole existence, as did her knowledge of Polish, Russian and Yiddish.
- (Apart from these Yiddish songs, Judaism did not really have any modern music of its own, its practitioners - Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Rubinstein, Schonberg, for example - all incorporated the best as they saw it from the past.
- The ballad-type songs of the day sung by such as Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra, plus the great classical music she had heard from her youth, facilitated Masha Cohen's overcoming of her personal nightmares, and had become - along with the very important Yiddish music - the natural background to Leonard's life, too.
- On engaging a new cantor he would say (in Yiddish), "You must be able to sing; but don't you dare!"
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