Warsaw — a vibrant, cosmopolitan magnet of the 1930s, bustling with shops, nightlife, museums, and a heady sense of place shared by its 1.3 million residents.
How could anyone fail to fall under the spell of a city boasting streets named Pleasant, Goose, Peacock, Valiant, Mushroom and Cordials?
And these were the thoroughfares that ultimately would come to define the heart of the wartime ghetto and its more than 400,000 Jewish inhabitants.
As Hitler’s eastward gaze settled on this crown jewel along the Vistula River, he thought only of a city that was much too Russified, one that would have to pay the ultimate price of his territorial ambitions, his contempt of Jews, Slavs, and communists and his designs on the Polish corridor and thus a clear path to Soviet soil. If Warsaw had the temerity to consider itself the Paris of the East, then the dictator would reduce it to the rubble of the Reich as part of a larger blitzkrieg against the nation.
Thirteen’s American Masters documentary, “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise,” premieres nationally on PBS on Monday, at 9 p.m. The career-spanning film features never-before-heard stories and new interviews with stars, including Brooks, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, and Tracey Ullman.
After 60 years in show business, Mel Brooks has earned more major awards than any other living entertainer; he is one of 14 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winners. A DVD with bonus material will be available Tuesday, from Shout Factory.
The JCC Thurnauer School of Music at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is holding on open house on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants can meet the distinguished instructors, who come from prominent conservatories including Juilliard, Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes.
Danny Polevoy, 16, of Franklin Lakes, a student at Indian Hills High School in Oakland, will perform at a fundraiser for Jewish Family Service of North Jersey at the school on Sunday, at 7 p.m. He joins Broadway composer Neil Berg, a Rockland County native, and his company in a performance of Berg’s show, “Night of Broadway Stars.”
Polevoy, who began singing and performing when he was 7, was invited to be the student performer in the show following a performance at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff’s recent Cabaret Night.
Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for students. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. There will be a catered pre-show cocktail and dinner buffet for sponsors at 5.
For information, call (973) 595-0111 or go to www.jfsnorthjersey.org.
The Israeli Chamber Project performs at Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday, at 8 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at (212) 501-3330 or go to www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org or www.israelichamberproject.org.
LOS ANGELES — Born in Canada into an immigrant Jewish family in 1915, Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow had a traditional Jewish upbringing, which included Torah study, Talmud, and Hebrew. Yet Rabbi David Wolpe observes that Bellow had an ambivalent relationship with Judaism.
“It was part of who he was, but he didn’t want to be thought of as a ‘Jewish’ author,” said Wolpe, who has been the top-ranked rabbi on Newsweek’s “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America” list.
Wolpe, the leader of Sinai Temple of Los Angeles, recently sat down with Dr. Greg Bellow, 69, the oldest of Saul Bellow’s four children, to discuss Greg’s new book, “Saul Bellow’s Heart: A Son’s Memoir,” before an audience of some 200 mature bibliophiles at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, Calif.