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Brooklyn Life

Avi Hoffman and Suzanne Toren on ‘Death of a Salesman’ and Yiddish

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By LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES NOV. 10, 2015 Before he was a salesman, Willy Loman was a peddler on the Lower East Side. You won’t find any proof of that in the script of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” but it makes intuitive sense to Avi Hoffman, the actor playing Willy in New Yiddish Rep’s Yiddish-language production. In the back story Mr. Hoffman has settled on, Willy is a Jewish immigrant who… Read More »Avi Hoffman and Suzanne Toren on ‘Death of a Salesman’ and Yiddish

Pieces of Pictures

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By Victoria Gold

I was born in nineteen fifty one in Brighton Beach Brooklyn, NYC. Brighton was a magical and mystical place to grow up. What more could a kid want than to be surrounded by the ocean, Coney Island and New York City?

The Gold family lived surrounded by the bracing smell of fresh ocean salt-water air. The overhead deafening sound of the elevated subway could not deter the pleasures of growing up by the ocean. Living by the beach opened my childhood eyes to all the wonderful beauties and diversities that growing up in the Big Apple in the fifties and early sixties offered.

Until I was eight we lived on Brighton Fourth Street in one of the multitudes of six-floor brick apartment buildings that encircled the boardwalk and Brighton Beach Ave. The assortment of buildings spanned lengthwise from Ocean Parkway through to Manhattan Beach and widthwise from the Boardwalk to Brighton Beach Avenue where you met the elevated train. During Brighton’s heyday, some of these buildings were mighty and grand. When my family moved to Brighton, most of the six floor apartment buildings were erected between the turn of the twenty century and the nineteen thirties. The architecture of a few of the buildings were extraordinary. Even today in 2015, a few buildings stand out as art deco icons.  Having intricate art deco engraving on the lobby doors and windows with fancy brickwork under the windows that simulated elaborate window shades.
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Sandy Koufax

Meeting Sandy Koufax

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By Uriel Gottesman I lived in Borough Park (55th St.) from the middle 1940s until 1955 but in addition, lived in other sections of Brooklyn until 1966. One of my favorite memories was the opportunity my father, brother and I had to Visit with Sandy Koufax in his home on 48th Street within a couple of days of his signing his contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This was made possible… Read More »Meeting Sandy Koufax

Playing Stick Ball

A Stickball Story

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By Martin H. Levinson
When I was ten I had a batting slump. No matter how hard I tried I was not able to hit a rubber Spalding ball with a wooden stickball bat. I became an easy out for the pitcher and as a result I was the last person chosen to be on a team in the street pick-up games that I looked forward to after school each day.

Stickball was the most important part of my life at that time, and my poor performance made me miserable. I couldn’t concentrate on my schoolwork, I couldn’t enjoy TV, I couldn’t eat. I thought myself a total nebbish.

One day, as I lay sobbing on my bed thinking about my failed athletic prowess, my mother walked through the door and asked, “What’s up?” I could barely get the words out through my tears. “I can’t hit. I’m washed up. I wish I was dead.”

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The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn – My Best Friend Louie

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The Crazy Life Of A Kid From BrooklynIt was 1933 in the middle of the depression. Sam, my father had found out in October, 1929 that his entire fortune was wiped out.  He would need to liquidate his successful curtain rod factory with 600 employees to pay for the margin call.  Although Sam was a moderately religious Jew he did not fit the stereotype of that period and although he was born in the Ft. Greene section of Brooklyn (on farmland with a pedestrian toll bridge going to their property) he spent some time up in Norman, Oklahoma. My father was an excellent horseman and could rope a steer. Otherwise he was the gentlest person that I had ever known. He was also an expert on nature, animals and he knew the Latin name of almost any tree or plant. I am told that one day when I was very young he took me on a trip to Norman l where he had me on his lap on the horse.  We were supposed to go to a small town outside of Norman when suddenly the horse stopped cold and refused to move. When I was old enough to understand and heard my father relate the story to friends I learned that some animals, especially those that are domesticated have a special sense of danger. It seems that when we got back to Norman dad’s friends couldn’t believe that we had survived the tornado that leveled the town that were supposed to go to. Although he studied medicine he was offended by the crude practices of the medical profession at the time, especially what he conceived of the crude treatment of children in the hospitals. Still, he had surgeon hands and could slice meat or turkey paper thin.

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Growing Up in Gravesend

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By Steve Slavin Back in the 1950s there were dozens of Reform temples scattered throughout what we called Flatbush. The closest to where I lived was Temple Ahavath Sholom, which we always called “the Avenue R Temple,” since it was on Avenue R and East 16th Street in the heart of Gravesend. There was also a Conservative synagogue on the corner of Homecrest and Ave T, Beth El Jewish Center.… Read More »Growing Up in Gravesend

Samuel Leibowitz: A Mentsch for All Seasons

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By Joe Dorinson The recent death of civil rights lawyer Jack Greenberg as reported in the New York Times (Obit, Oct. 13, 2016) recalls the once close, though later frayed link between American Jews and African-Americans in the common quest for social justice. After our successful second induction ceremony into the BJHI Hall of Fame, attention must be paid to this one-time Brooklyn resident for posthumous induction for his exemplary… Read More »Samuel Leibowitz: A Mentsch for All Seasons

An Interview With The First Hasidic Woman Elected To Public Office In The U.S.

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In September, attorney and Hasidic community activist Rachel Freier won a contested primary for a civil court judgeship in Brooklyn’s 5th Judicial District. Freier easily carried the November general election, and this week she took her seat on the bench as a civil court judge. Freier, who attended Touro College and Brooklyn Law School, is the first Hasidic Jewish woman to hold elected office in the United States. Prior to… Read More »An Interview With The First Hasidic Woman Elected To Public Office In The U.S.

Brooklyn’s Changing Neighborhoods a Reflection of Jewish Diversity and Immigration

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By Sarina Roffé Neighborhoods in Brooklyn are a direct reflection of the changing ethnicities and religions of the people who live in them. During the last 100 or so years, Brooklyn has embraced Jews from all over the world, and holds first place for having the largest Jewish population on the planet. Brighton Beach, once the home of Eastern Europeans and Holocaust survivors, saw a drastic change as it embraced… Read More »Brooklyn’s Changing Neighborhoods a Reflection of Jewish Diversity and Immigration

The Dime

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The Dime — excerpted from “The Scorekeeper,” a memoir published in 2017 by Joy Media LLC I never thought of us as poor. We gave to the poor. My grandmother defied arthritic legs trudging from neighbor to neighbor to collect clothing and food for displaced Holocaust survivors in Europe and my mother always found a coin or two of tzedakah to drop into tin pushkas for one cause or another.… Read More »The Dime

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