Bintel Blog

Trading Feathers for a Yarmulke

By Gabriel Sanders

Back in March, I wrote an article about how a Native-American memory site was staging an exhibition devoted to Anne Frank. The display, at the Bosque Redondo State Monument in New Mexico, offered a chance to talk about the Jewish-Indian relationship more broadly, from 17th-century interactions with converso settlers to the Native-American embrace of the language of the Holocaust.

Now, courtesy of Gordon Bronitsky, a New Mexico Jew active in creating dialogue between Jews and Native Americans, we learn about still another Indian-Jewish intersection: Beginning today, the Stratford Festival of Canada will be staging a modern-dress version of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” with actor Graham Greene playing the role of Shylock.

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Greene, who is perhaps best known for performing alongside Kevin Costner in “Dances With Wolves,” spoke directly to the question of Jewish-Indian linkages. “Shylock’s forced conversion to Christianity is not unlike the First Nations people being forced into Christianity,” said Greene, an Oneida born on an Ontario reservation. “There are a lot of parallels there.” Greene will appear onstage wearing a yarmulke and prayer shawl.

The actor, who shouldn’t be confused with his literary namesake, has never acted in a Shakespeare play before and confessed to being slightly daunted by the task. “Bending my head around [the text] was kind of difficult,” he said.

And yet, in his own way, he’s managed to get a handle on — and develop some sympathy for — the Bard’s most famous Jew.

“He loses everything — his daughter, his money, his house,” Greene said. “He’s the one who gets boned, big time.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Theater, Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Native Americans, Graham Greene, Shylock




Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.