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Yiddish Theatre Ensemble Play Reading Series | On the Road to Zion by Sholem Asch

Jun 23 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

road leading to horizon with title of program

Please join the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life for Berkeley’s award-winning Yiddish Theatre Ensemble’s staged reading of Sholem Asch’s play, On the Road to Zion. Written in 1905 with a new English translation by Caraid O’Brien, the reading is directed by Bruce Bierman with a cast of 14 actors including Traveling Jewish Theater co-founder, Naomi Newman. A discussion with the actors and director will follow the performance.

Sunday, June 23, 2024 | 1:00-3:00pm

In person at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA



The Magnes’s programs and exhibitions are supported by our community. Click here to make a suggested donation of $15 per adult.

If you have any questions about accessibility or require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact us at magnes@berkeley.edu or call us at (510) 643-2526 with as much advance notice as possible.

About On the Road to Zion
In 1905, Sholem Asch debuted his first full-length play, a symbolist drama about the diverse and varying viewpoints about the future of Jewish life at the turn of the twentieth century in Poland. In it, a family gathers from across Europe to say goodbye to their octogenarian grandparents, who are moving to Palestine to live out their final years. The family includes the traditionally religious, capitalists, Germanophiles, a Zionist, a Socialist Democrat, a secular Yiddishist, a Polish nationalist, and an artist in search of himself— and everyone has a different idea about the future of Jewish life. The 1905 Russian-language premiere of On the Road to Zion introduced the Russian intelligentsia to the existence of an exciting new literature in Yiddish. Produced by the grande dame of Russian theater, Vera Komissarzhevskaya—who played the original Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull—it was a sensation. Jacob and Sarah Adler starred in its Yiddish-language premiere in New York City.

About Yiddish Theatre Ensemble
Co-artistic directors Laura Sheppard and Bruce Bierman began collaborating over a decade ago to create community-based productions in affiliation with fiscal sponsor KlezCalifornia. Their first success was the Yiddish musical Di Megileh of Itzik Manger (2014 and 2015) as part of the Jewish Music Festival. They co-produced and served as artistic directors of KlezCalifornia’s Cabaret by the Bay (2016, 2017) featuring top Bay Area talents. In 2021, due to Covid-19, YTE produced an online film adaptation of God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, translated into English by Caraid O’Brien. This production, directed by Bruce Bierman received the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for distinguished work. Then in 2022, YTE was invited by the San Francisco Playhouse to co-produce the Tony Award- winning Broadway play, Indecent by Paula Vogel, directed by Susi Damilano. Bruce Bierman served as Dramaturg and Yiddish Dance Consultant and Laura and Bruce advised on casting, authenticity, music and marketing. This Bay Area premiere received six Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards including Best Bay Area Show and Best San Francisco Show of the year. In 2023, YTE produced Between Worlds, based on the life and poetry of celebrated writer Irena Klepfisz at the Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley. Between Worlds was conceived and written by acclaimed actress Naomi Newman, co-founder of the Traveling Jewish Theatre of San Francisco. This original theatre piece, directed and choreographed by Bruce Bierman, featured Naomi with ensemble members Diana Bukowska, Aviya Hernstadt and Ariel Luckey, with renown musicians Barbara Borden (percussion) and Susanne DiVincenzo (cello and bass). Performance films and trailers are available at Yiddish Theatre Ensemble – KlezCalifornia.


Jun 23
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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