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NJ honorees in spotlight at revival of play
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NJ honorees in spotlight at revival of play

Sylvia and David S. Steiner
Sylvia and David S. Steiner

Local philanthropists and supporters of the arts Sylvia and David S. Steiner will be the honorees at a milestone of the Yiddish cultural renaissance in New York City. On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the West Orange couple will be honored at a gala performance of Di Goldene Kale (The Golden Bride), a lost hit from the heyday of the Yiddish theater that is being revived and restaged by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan.

A VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. will include an awards presentation to the Steiners; a party with live music will follow the performance.

New Jersey audiences got a preview of the operetta last August — 92 years after its premiere at Kessler’s Second Avenue Theatre in New York — when Di Goldene Kale was presented in New Brunswick by Folksbiene and Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and cosponsored by Rutgers’ Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life. 

The Golden Bride is a comic rags-to-riches American-Jewish fairytale that takes the audience on a journey from a Russian shtetl to a New York City mansion. The staging of the work, scored by famed composer Joseph Rumshinsky, is accompanied by a full orchestra with Russian supertitles.

“The Steiners — lions in the world of culture — are natural choices for honorees at the inaugural performance,” said NYTF’s artistic director Zalmen Mlotek. “David and Sylvia are synonymous with support of the arts and culture across a variety of platforms. They are critical to the life of NYTF for their continuous guidance and support.”

When the Steiners were honored by NYTF in 2011, David Steiner said the couple’s strong support of the Folksbiene was motivated by their desire “to make sure Yiddish culture is around.”

“It is very important for us to preserve it — in books, in schools, and especially in the theater,” he told NJ Jewish News. “The theater was such an important part of Jewish life in America, and it would be a shame for it not to be here. I hope…the next generation might get an appreciation of the role it played and maybe participate more in Yiddish culture.”

Among his many Jewish and general leadership roles, David Steiner is director of the National Yiddish Book Center and served as the national president of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Sylvia Steiner is a member of American Jewish Committee’s board of governors and served on the board of trustees of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, where the Steiners are longtime members. She is also a member of the Major Gifts Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, a board member of New York Stage & Film, and a Broadway producer.

The gala chair is producer/investor Feliks Frenkel; cochairs include Jewish community and cultural supporters Thomas Blumberg, Sandra F. Cahn, and Carol Levin. 

Previews are Saturday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6, 2 and 6 p.m. Performances are Tuesday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. (opening night, limited seats available); Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 10, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 13, 2 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $30 to $40; for information, contact 212-213-2120, ext. 204; 866-811-4111; or groupsales@nytf.org or visit mjhnyc.org. For gala opening night pricing, contact Aviva Miller at 212-213-2120, ext. 208, or amiller@nytf.org.

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