Yiddish Theater in the Warsaw Ghetto

During World War II, multiple Yiddish theaters functioned in the Warsaw Ghetto. Even more remarkably, those involved in them were deeply concerned, despite everything, with maintaining high artistic standards. Michael Steinlauf writes:

The single most controversial issue in prewar Yiddish theater discourse was the subject of shund, referring to so-called trash, theater that was judged to be “mere entertainment,” and poor entertainment at that, filled with singing and dancing, badly acted and frequently vulgar. This was contrasted with the productions of “serious” or “dramatic” or “artistic” theater. . . .

What’s extraordinary when looking at theater in the Warsaw Ghetto is not just the continuity of this distinction but its intensification. While in the prewar years there was already an ethical component to this distinction, in the ghetto it became central. . . . A “better” theater was better because, first, amidst the radical immorality of daily life in a world built on obliviousness to the suffering and death of others, this theater recalled its audience to humanity.

Read more at Digital Yiddish Theatre Project

More about: Holocaust, Polish Jewry, Warsaw Ghetto, Yiddish theater

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security