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September 7, 2016 6:36 am

‘Bad Jews’ Makes Audiences Laugh and Think in Teaneck, New Jersey

avatar by David Meyers

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The cast of "Bad Jews." Photo: Black Box PAC.

The cast of “Bad Jews.” Photo: Black Box PAC.

In 2013, the play Bad Jews premiered off-Broadway. It dealt with assimilation, intermarriage and every major issue facing the Jewish community today. It was also incredibly funny.

In fact, the New York Times called it one of the funniest comedies of the year, and the Huffington Post said it was “one of the funniest things on the New York stage,” and a “thought-provoking evening.”

I am currently acting in the New Jersey professional premiere of the play at the Black Box PAC in Teaneck. It has been an incredible experience — and not just because the production is fantastic.

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Ever since I saw the play off-Broadway, I’ve wanted to act in Bad Jews, because it deals with so many of the issues that I’ve encountered in my own life.

Like that of the character I play, my own grandfather survived the Holocaust and built a new life in America — as a proud Jew. I also realize that if I don’t continue the Jewish tradition that he loved so much, it might die forever.

And while I am still beyond proud to be Jewish, and consider myself an extremely active Jew, my attendance at synagogue has declined since my grandfather’s death. It simply isn’t the same, or as meaningful, without him.

In Bad Jews, Daphna Faygenbaum argues that assimilation and intermarriage are the gravest threats facing Judaism today. But other characters don’t see it that way. What transpires is a debate that every synagogue and every Jewish community should be having.

Many of our performances will feature talkbacks with rabbis and other community leaders, and our director, Matt Okin, is an observant Jew himself.

If you happen to be in New Jersey, I’d love for you to share the play with us and participate in that discussion. More information and tickets can be found here.

There is also a group discount available, for which you can contact BadJewsThePlayNJ@gmail.com.

And if not, next time you see Bad Jews playing near you, you should make the trip. It will be more than worth your effort.

The writer is the Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner.

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  • Jay Lavine

    The New York Times and The Huffington Post (“T” capitalized in both) didn’t say anything. People who wrote articles for these publications did.

    Pride is not considered a positive trait in Judaism. Jews have self-respect tempered by humility, not pride.

    • Nitpicking and negativity are also not considered positive traits in Judaism. Kol ha kavod to the author/actor for bringing this subject to a broader audience. Frank discussion of the topic is necessary in these urgent times.

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