"Rabbi Michael Unterberg, the Jewish history department chair at Fuchs Mizrachi School, met with Kepley and the cast to serve as an expert and tutor in all things Judaic.
Unterberg’s discussions with the cast ranged from the practical – how to wear tzitzit and what it feels like to “shuckle” while praying – to the spiritual. The cast and Unterberg had in-depth discussions on the influence of Jewish mysticism on Chasidism and how those beliefs amplify Asher’s parents’ pain at his leaving the fold.
Unterberg also raised the issue of “tensions with Christianity in the shadow of the Holocaust,” he says. He felt it was essential for the actors “to understand how a Jewish parent would view a cross or crucifix, the pain, what that symbolism would mean to Eastern European immigrants.”
The experience of working on the production “was really enriching for me,” he adds, noting the actors craved knowledge of details about Chasidic life that didn’t directly figure into the script just so they would have a fuller sense of who their characters are.
“It’s interesting to see how actors study,” Unterberg says. “Chasidim have this view that every life is a spark. Actors share that value – appreciating other cultures. It was cool.”
Kepley looks forward to “Asher Lev’s” three high-school student matinee performances. While the majority of schools attending these shows are religious schools, there’s only one Jewish school among them: Unterberg is bringing a group of 90 teens from Fuchs Mizrachi. Kepley’s past experiences with student matinees leads her to anticipate “great discussions afterwards” with teen audiences of different faiths.
Unterberg says he almost balked at bringing his students to the “Asher Lev” matinee, as the regular evening productions will contain nudity. The student matinees, he was quickly assured, would not.
“For me and my school, we’d have been in the same position as Asher” had the matinees contained nudity, Unterberg observes. “We want to experience culture, but we also want to uphold Modern Orthodox traditions.”
When you search for my name on the Cleveland Jewish News website, you get several other article about or mentioning me. Below are most of the results. You can click to see those articles too.
Not so bad for some kid from Brooklyn, I guess.
Death of a 'dream'
Cleveland resident mourns, celebrates life of aunt killed in terrorist attack in Efrat. By DOUGLAS J. GUTH Staff Reporter Rabbi Michael Unterberg says he was stunned as he looked out at the ocean of mourners who came to his Aunt Sara's funeral in t...
4.2K - Jun. 7, 2001; scored 1000.0
Exploring the world of Asher Lev
A bearded man in tzitzit (ritual fringes) sits hunched on a wooden bench. He snaps into a memory of his childhood and becomes an insecure 10-year-old boy. He begs his father to cancel their planned move to Vienna, to let him stay in New York. If forc...
6.9K - Mar. 4, 2011; scored 898.0
Guide takes a new view of gay, Orthodox Jewish life
Written as a careful balance of ancient Jewish law and modern ideals of human compassion, a code of conduct on the Orthodox community s treatment of homosexuality was released online this summer, complete with signatures from over 170 Modern Orthodox...
5.3K - Oct. 1, 2010; scored 855.0
Tubbs Jones was a friend to Jews,’ say local leaders
As the Ohio and Washington, D.C. political worlds mourn the death of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, local Jewish leaders recall the woman whose charisma and willingness to listen ultimately made her the correct choice to represent a district with, ...
7.8K - Aug. 28, 2008; scored 539.0
Tackling modern Israel in area jewish schools
Cleveland day and religious schools work to bring modern Israel into the classroom. With Israel front and center in the news almost every day, many Jewish families are calling for a more concerted effort from educators to teach children about modern ...
5.3K - Sep. 1, 2005; scored 539.0
Something rotten’ in the Tony Brown review of Hamlet’
First, a quiz: Read the paragraphs and answer the multiple choice question that follows: “A friend, an Israeli Jew from Jerusalem whose father survived the concentration camps to settle in the promised land on the promise it was empty, comp...
6.0K - Jun. 12, 2008; scored 425.0
Jewish day schools address current Israeli crisis
As the intifada enters its 19th month and an Israel virtually at war dominates the headlines, Yom Hazikaron(Israel Memorial Day) and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) take on special poignancy this year. As part of the double commemoration on...
8.0K - Apr. 11, 2002; scored 425.0
A 2006 trip that began in 1942
My summer vacation began this year on July 23, when my mother Bertha Lautman, the 48th Jewish prisoner interned in Auschwitz, and Rabbi Michael Unterberg traveled with me and my mother from Cleveland to Slovakia. (Rabbi Unterberg is planning to make ...
5.4K - Nov. 23, 2006; scored 425.0
Defending Israel on campus goal of high-school program
Perhaps the most dangerous place to be a Zionist is on today’s American college campuses. From coast to coast, left-wing politics and the Palestinian cause have joined forces, notes Middle East analyst Mark Silverberg. Supporting the Palest...
5.6K - May. 8, 2008; scored 425.0
Mizrachi on Israel
I appreciated Michael Goroff's cover story Tackling Modern Israel in area Jewish schools (CJN, Sept. 2). However, I would like to round out the picture of Israel education at Fuchs Mizrachi School. Religious Zionism is our raison d�...
1.2K - Sep. 15, 2005; scored 269.0
Heartfelt Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration
Fuchs Mizrachi School celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) in a room overflowing with more than 500 Clevelanders, as well as visitors from Detroit. The experience was extraordinarily heartfelt, and the connection between the s...
1.1K - May. 19, 2005; scored 269.0
Devorah Pomerantz and Zachery Goldstein were married recently at the La Malfa Party Center. Rabbi Michael Unterberg of Cleveland and Rabbi Alan Berkowitz of New York officiated. Mrs. Goldstein, daughter of Lawrence and Phylis Pomerantz of University ...
0.6K - Mar. 18, 2002; scored 269.0
Write On trip to Israel trains new advocates
Many trips promise The Real Israel. But the Israelis who met the teen advocacy group Write On for Israel, co-sponsored by The AVI CHAI Foundation and the Cleveland Jewish News, really delivered. On a recent 10-day Israel trip, a component of the Wr...
7.9K - Jul. 3, 2009; scored 269.0
Defending Israel on campus 101: Pro-Israel group starts at OSU and other schools
When Lisette Dolgin was a college student and Hillel officer at Loyola University Chicago in 2005, she wasn’t a well-educated Zionist. This despite the fact that Dolgin is a grandchild of one Holocaust survivor and one Israeli-born vetera...
4.5K - Oct. 10, 2008; scored 269.0
Never again or enough?
We had our first Yom Hashoah commemoration at Wiggins Place. We are Jewish seniors of the same generation but with different backgrounds and denominations. The majority were born in America and raised children who had grandparents, aunts and uncles i...
1.4K - May. 4, 2007; scored 269.0