Tovah Feldshuh, Alfred Uhry and Bruce Sussman

Nate Bloom Blogs on this week's Jews in the News.


Happy Rosh!


Broadway v. Anti-Semitism, Koufax Statue and Much More

Not long ago, I discovered a PBS (New York) series, and a program in that series, that has received virtually no attention in the media. Its “House Seats” and the “House Seats” program is “Broadway Responds to Anti-Semitism”. You can access, for free, “House Seats” on every PBS app. There’s even a transcript of the program on-line (Google the title and “transcript”)

The “Broadway Responds” program was filmed in late June, 2023.  Three Broadway “biggies” were interviewed, on a stage, before a live audience. The biggies are actress TOVAH FELDSHUH, 74, playwright ALFRED UHRY, 86, and lyricist/playwright BRUCE SUSSMAN, 74.

They covered so much ground, and so intelligently—that I can’t summarize much of what they said---and I urge you to watch this hour-long program.

Uhry is best known for his “Atlanta Trilogy”: “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Last Night of Ballyhoo”, and “Parade”. All three plays focus on Atlanta Jews and anti-Semitism is a major or minor theme in all three.

His German Jewish family, Uhry said, settled in Atlanta before the Civil War. He explained that he was hardly exposed to Judaism growing-up, but had plenty of exposure to anti-Semitism—including the Klan.  

Feldshuh and Sussman grew-up in the New York area, but they too experienced some anti-Semitism.

Last June, hit revivals of the musicals “Parade” and “Funny Girl” were running on Broadway. Both have recently closed.  Feldshuh played Fanny Brice’s mother, Rose, in the “Funny Girl” revival and she noted that she was the first “real Jew” to play Rose. Uhry said that when “Parade” opened in 1998, it didn’t resonate as much as today. Its the story of the lynching of an Atlanta Jew (1915). In 1998, he said, anti-Semitism was at a low ebb. Not so today.

Sussman said that, by coincidence, New York theaters were “jammed” with productions about anti-Semitism. He was principally referring to  “Parade”, “Leopoldstadt”, and “Harmony”, a musical. Sussman wrote the script for “Harmony”. He also wrote the lyrics for the show’s songs. (BARRY MANILOW wrote the music. )

“Harmony” is about a German, six-man comedic singing group (Jews and non-Jews) that became very popular in the ‘20s. They had big problems when the Nazis took over in the ‘30s. (“Harmony” will move from off-Broadway to Broadway this November).

The three guests also took up the “hot” controversy about casting non-Jews as Jewish characters. They expressed well-thought out, but quite different opinions.

Almost all Jews know that SANDY KOUFAX, now 87, was a truly great baseball pitcher and most know that he declined to pitch in the first game of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur.  If you are a big fan, or just want to know more, here are three “must-see” Youtube videos.

In 2022, a large statue of Koufax was unveiled in front of the L.A. Dodgers stadium. Nearby is a statue of the great Jackie Robinson, a teammate of Koufax when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. These are the only statues in front of the stadium and one unveiling ceremony speaker stated what most know: one player was black, the other Jewish.

The first video (30min) is entitled “Dodger Legend Sandy Koufax Backstage Dodgers Season 9”. It begins and ends with excerpts of the unveiling ceremony speeches.   In the “middle” 15 minutes, a journalist walks through a Dodger stadium indoor corridor chock full of Koufax pics and trophies. He provides an excellent Koufax bio, and even shows a film clip or two. He works in the Yom Kippur story.

(1) Dodger Legend Sandy Koufax - Backstage Dodgers Season 9 (2022) - YouTube


You can see the whole Koufax speech in a 10-minute Youtube video entitled “Sandy Koufax Gives Gracious Speech at His Statue Unveiling at Dodger Stadium”. Koufax provides a mini-bio of his career. He also thanks many, including Jackie Robinson, his friend.

(1) Sandy Koufax Gives Gracious Speech at His Statue Unveiling at Dodger Stadium - YouTube


Koufax looks as good as an 87-year-old man can look. I think he hasn’t gained a pound since he retired after the 1966 baseball season. Koufax is a soft-spoken, “classy” man who has only done “good things” (like coaching) since he retired.

Most film, or videotape of Koufax pitching, is in black-and-white and grainy. Here’s a treat:  Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s,  a company made high quality (color) World Series films. These 30-minute films focused on game  “highlights” and were originally shown in movie theaters. Some are on a Youtube channel called “Sports History Channel”. Search Youtube for “1965 World Series Highlights”.

The late, great Vin Scully narrates the 1965 series film. The photography is much, much better than 1960s TV broadcasts. This film really captures Koufax captures distinctive and “deadly” pitching motion.

Koufax pitched well, but lost the 2nd game of the ’65 series. He won the 5th and 7th games.  Koufax didn’t give up a run in these games. He pitched Game 7 with just two days-rest.


(1)    1965 World Series Highlights - YouTube


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