Friday, June 09, 2023

(Courtesy of Kaplen JCC on the Palisades) Several hundred people filled the Taub Auditorium at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades to witness a dramatic and highly emotional reading of Jeff Cohen’s play “The Soap Myth”—a story that explores how Holocaust survivors have truly been forced to survive in a world where there are people who adamantly distort the truth or even deny that the Holocaust ever took place. Ed Asner—seven-time Emmy and five-time Golden Globe Award winner—played the lead as a passionate Holocaust survivor, who is encouraged by a young journalist to document his personal experience, including knowledge regarding the Nazi atrocity of making soap from the bodies of murdered Jews. Tovah Feldshuh—two-time Emmy and four-time Tony Award nominee—played the chilling and powerful role of someone who denies much of what happened, and Liba Vaynber played the young journalist, who pursues the story and is caught between numerous versions of the same narrative. The performance and the message were incredibly compelling, leaving the audience to question what it means to assume collective responsibility to report the truth and to keep that truth alive.

“Our presentation of ‘The Soap Myth’ provided an emotional and deeply moving evening for our Patron of the Arts supporters,” says Nina Bachrach, JCC director of arts and culture development. “It was both humbling and powerful to host a live performance about such an important topic, and also served as a stark reminder about the need to educate future generations, especially since it is now documented that 30 percent of Americans do not believe that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. We received incredible feedback from the audience, thanking us for presenting this topic here, and the cast and crew, in turn, raved about our audience and their thoughtful response to the evening.”

Following the performance and the moderated “talkback” Q & A with the playwright and cast, Patron of the Arts subscribers attended a post-event meet and greet, where they received photo opportunities with the cast at a private dessert reception. The program was held on January 27 as a tribute to International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The reading was directed by Pam Berlin and included Ned Eisenberg, who played a number of serious and comic roles.

The JCC extends a special thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, Maggie Kaplen and The Kaplen Foundation. Patron of the Arts subscribers receive many exclusive benefits including concierge service, VIP ticket access and seating, complimentary tickets, reserved parking, special receptions and more and ensure the JCC’s ability to continue its rich tradition of creating a vibrant and vital cultural arts community. To learn more about the Patron of the Arts program and its diverse and inspiring arts experiences, visit jccotp.org/patrons or contact Nina Bachrach at 201-408-1406 or [email protected].

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