On Monday, April 23, Congregation Sukkat Shalom (“Shelter of Peace”) will hold a fundraising event featuring the critically acclaimed documentary “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness,” followed by a discussion, “American Comedy’s Jewish Roots,” led by Rabbi Dov Gartenberg and Geoff Kirsch.
Sholem Aleichem, often known as the “Yiddish Mark Twain,” was the first person to write in Yiddish. His stories -- which formed the basis of “Fiddler on the Roof” -- began a literary tradition that would capture Eastern European Jewish life right before the “Jewish Enlightenment” of the late 1880s which, ironically, led to rampant anti-Semitism and mass emigration to America in the early 1900s. Aleichem depicted all of this through humor; in so doing, he became the progenitor of contemporary Jewish humorists like Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Jon Stewart.
The film of which he is the subject has been praised by film critics, including Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, who wrote:
“ Wonderfully rich, like one of Tevye’s monologues, Joseph Dorman’s ‘Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness’ captures the spirit of a man and his times.
The film showing and discussion will be held at the Gold Town Movie Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Monday. General admission is $12, with a discount offered for Sukkat Shalom members.
For more info, visit Congregation-Sukkat-Shalom on Facebook, or go to www.sukkatshalomalaska.net, or call 586-6925.