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December 09, 2012

Win A Free DVD Of The Well Reviewed Film, Romeo And Juliet In Yiddish

Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish 2You have until Saturday night at 11:59 pm CST to correctly answer the following question. One winner will be chosen from the correct answers on Sunday.


Here's how you can win a DVD of Eve Annenberg's film, Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish.

Correctly answer the following question and post that answer in the comments to this post before Monday morning, December 10th, at 9 am EST, making sure to use a valid email address. Keep a close eye on that email box to see if you've won.

Here's the question:

Some researchers believe that William Shakespeare had a secret Jewish connection, one that may even call his authorship of many of his works into question. What or who is that alleged secret Jewish connection?

Here is a synopsis of the film's plot:

The play Romeo and Juliet has been translated around the world. Now film director Eve Annenberg’s gritty, funny feature sets William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in contemporary New York City with Brooklyn-inflected English and Yiddish delivered by a talented cast. Aside from several Yiddish videos produced by the Orthodox community in Monsey, New York, Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish is the first film spoken in as much Yiddish in almost 60 years.

Ava, a wisecracking middle-aged E.R. nurse—and bitterly lapsed Orthodox Jew—undertakes a translation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from old Yiddish to new Yiddish, in her pursuit of a Master’s degree. In over her head, she accepts help from two charismatic and ethically challenged (aka scamming), charming young Ultra Orthodox dropouts, Lazer and Mendy. When another ex-Orthodox leaver enchants her apartment with Kabbalah magic, the boys begin to live Shakespeare’s play in their heads, in a gauzy and lyrical alternate reality where everyone is Orthodox.

In what might be the first Yiddish “mumblecore” film, Annenberg creates a parallel universe (set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), where Romeo and Juliet hail from divergent streams of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and speak their lines in street-smart Yiddish. The Bard may have never dreamed of the Montagues as Satmar Jews, but in this magical rendition, the story of feuding Orthodox families is strangely believable and timeless. The director conjures Chabadnicks (Lubavitch) as Capulets; the distinctions are subtle but astute viewers will be tickled by the detail. As they start to “modernize” and act in the archaic play, the young men fall under its rapturous incantation. Annenberg’s meditation on life and love in New York yields a rapprochement between Secular and ultra Orthodox Worlds.

By the end of this 92 minute confection—set to euphoric compositions by Joel Diamond, Lior, Basya Schecter and newcomers like Shmully Blesovsky and the entire ensemble—family is redefined, Shakespeare evaluated, Ava happier, and the viewer not only understanding a little Yiddish, but thinking that boys in long black coats and peyos can actually be really sexy and cute.  A meditation on love and family—if the issues are not yet solved, they linger in the air like a little Kabbalah magic.


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He was circumcised.

Aemilia Bassano Lanyer

Amelia Bassano Lanier

Amelia Bassano Lanier, according to John Hudson, and that's a load of rubbish IMHO

Amelia Bassano Lanier

Amelia Bassano Lanier

("Just Like Romeo and Juliet", The Reflections)

Findin' a job tomorrow mornin'.
Got a little somethin' I wanna do.
Gonna translate this little play.
Someday it might be a ballet.
This play's gonna be written down in Yidishkeit.
Just like Romeo and Juliet.

Oh, poor William Shakespeare
Might have had a Jewish friend.
No wonder Shylock was sympathetic.
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
This play's gonna be written down in Yidishkeit.
Just like Romeo and Juliet.

Just like Romeo and Juliet.
Just like Romeo and Juliet.
Just like Romeo and Juliet.
Just like Romeo and Juliet.

Talk about translating to Yiddish.
How many people will farshtay it?
I'm gonna put Will's language
Right on a pewter plate.

All right, now, I'm speculatin'
Wonderin' if anyone will comprehend.
If no one buys a ticket tomorrow
My backers will have heartaches and sorrow.
My new film'll be known as a tragedy,
Even worse than "Heaven's Gate."

Aemilia Bassano Lanyer

Aemilia Bassano Lanyer. Was she the dark lady?

Amelia Bassano Lanier

His grandfather' real name was Jacob Spiro (common Morano name) and hs mother Miriam Arden or Ardon was also rumored to be Jewish.

For the record - both "connections" are extremely speculative and I don't find them compelling, but I di have a prof that got quite animated on the subject.......

Unsure why - the prof was As Irish Catholic as they come.

It is suspected that William Shakespeare was the son of Yochanan and Miriam (nee Adler) Schapiro, of the Schapiro rabbinic dynasty in the town of Slobodka. Yochanan, after a losing a bitter battle with his younger brother Moshe to succeed his father as Rosh Yeshiva, moved to England with his family and converted to Christianity. Schapiro, it is suspected, anglecised his name to hide his Jewish roots. At that time, his eldest son (to survive childhood mortality) Baruch, was 17 years old.

The memoirs of Daniel of Troki, a Jewish merchant living in Slobodka, record the themes of the Purim plays enacted by the local cheder between the years 1567 and 1610. Shakespeare's earliest works are nearly identical to the plots and themes of these "purim shpillen" that he would have attended before his family emmigrated. Moreover, the ensuing years also featured plays that strongly resembled the Shakespeare's writings and it is speculated that although Yochanan had broken ties with the Jewish community, it is more than likely that they returned to visit each year on Purim.

Shakespeare may have just been rewriting plays made by an oppressed Jewish village seeking one day of leisure a year in order to rework them for Gentile audiences. A recent historian was fameously quoted saying: "It seems that William Shakespeare not only did not create his own plays, but he may not have ever had a single original idea in his entire life."

Aemilia Lanyer

Aemilia Lanyer according to John Hudson
though the evidence seems weak.

Amelia Bassano Lanier

I can't say I've ever heard of any connection - and I can't say I really care! But hey - Ill post this anyway to get a shot at winning!.

Shmarya, I'm visiting from Toronto just in time to enjoy the storm here in Minneapolis. If I win, let's meet and I'll buy you dinner.

Maskil - Very clever.

I'm curious if you are the same "Maskil" who used to troll around here about a year ago, attacking Shmarya and the commentors and defending Chareidi misbehavior?

Or are you Maskil II?

Iy this not child abuse ?

embedded in Shakespeare's 1609 sonnets is the mention of kaddish in Aramaic.

Amelia Bassano Lanier (who I read about on Wikipedia thanks to the comments - thanks.)

How Ironic (or is it: hypocritical?) for Shmarya to be heavily promoting a film that features the infamous scammer & molester, even accused rapist of underaged boys, Moshe Pinter - who acts throughout in this film!

& this, only a few months after Failed Messiah featured here the NY Daily News article exposing Moshe Pinter latest crimes!:


See this picture of Moshe Pinter (chubby guy on extreme left with the cast), from the Forward's podcast page:


Perhaps you can get an exclusive interview with Eve about this???

Posted by: Abracadabra | December 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM

I'm not a "troll." When I don't post anything that usually means I agree 100%. I'm a fan of Shmarya, and of this site. I'm just more of a "stickler" who can't stand when fine points are overlooked or little errors in fact or logic slip in here and there, because I feel it undermines the legitimacy of any and all of the genuine criticism and factual information provided by this site. So, yes, I nitpick. And the more stronly I feel about an issue the more agressively I will nitpick with Shmarya over the finer details. Although I am not a Kahanist at all, I am also very bothered by the way Shmarya treats Meir Kahane, who isn't here to defend himself, and was one of Shmarya's genuine friends.

If you read my posts back-to-back you should be able to find a running consistancy. If not, then I am truly an enigma; perhaps I just don't fit anyone's paradigm.

Oh, and there are some things that you just "have to be there" to understand: Like how entering the back door of the bus is not the same as entering from the front and walking to the back, and how Bet Shemesh Haredim are crazy, but Mea Shearim Haredim are generally normal...

There you go, you sent me on a nit-picking frenzy. I'll take a sedative and go to sleep so I don't go all OCD in response to your claim that I defend Haredim. Oh my God, it's so tempting. Suffice it to say that I'm culturally anti-Haredi (culturally) but ideologically pro-Haredi, and that, no, you're not expected to know what that means (but I don't even pretend that I keep Shabbos). Okay, click "post," type in the captcha and close this tab ... now! I'll try...

The Yiddish theater is baaaaaack

(and we frei yidden still don't understand it ;-))

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