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The Purimspiel of 1939: “Purim in Persia”


Last year, The Shaar Hashomayim Museum & Archives rediscovered a treasure trove of photographs from past Purim celebrations at the Shaar. Among these photographs were several large and fascinating cast pictures from the elaborate Purimspiels the youth of the synagogue would put on every year.


This week we’re featuring the Purimspiel of 1939: Purim in Persia.


As reported in the Canadian Jewish Chronicle on March 3rd of that year, the Purimspiel, directed by Mr. Samuel Lerner, was to be performed on Sunday March 5th and was the highlight of the synagogue’s annual Purim banquet. The musical was based on a script written by Moshe Davis—an American rabbi who taught for many years at both the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the Hebrew University.




Here is how the paper reported the production prior to its performance:

“‘Purim in Persia,’ a musical comedy in two acts and five scenes, adapted by Mr. S. Lerner, from the script of Moshe Davis, will be the main feature of the Eleventh Annual Purim Banquet at the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue next Sunday evening, March 5th, at 6 pm.

The cast of the play includes Horace Baittle, Mindel Bronfman, Neil Phillips, Lazarus Cohen, Edward Levinson, Leslie Brodkin, Bernard Berlin, Ian Lemco, Samuel Getz, Peter Rosenbaum, Edgar Wener, Sheila Abbey, Reva Leibovich, Gordon Edelstone, Marilyn Block, Sybil Freedman, Peter Bronfman, Edgar Bronfman, David Lemco, Donald Kirk, Billy Levy, Allan Kirsch, Perry Meyer, Anita Elkin, Katherine Silver, Florence Gersovitz, Wylma Jacobs, Naomi Pressman, Selman Schachter, Joyce Lozinski, Arthur Victor and Alan Finestone.


The play is under the direction of Mr. S. Lerner, with the music provided by Mrs. N. Fineberg. Fred Solomon is stage manager.”


In the following week’s issue of the Canadian Jewish Chronicle, it was reported that the production was so popular that it would be perform an encore performance the following Sunday (March 12th)





Sunday, July 14, 2024 8 Tammuz 5784