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News Letters Tell of Jewish Life Abroad

This year’s theatrical season in Paris was opened with a Jewish play. The first production of the season is an event of importance in Paris, not only theatrically, but socially as well. It is an event that draws the leading personages of the cultural and social life of the city to the theatre.

This year’s “premiere,” no exception, attracted not only the French, but also the Jewish personalities. Even M. Leon Blum, the Jewish leader of the French Socialist Party, was there.

The play was produced in the “Theatre de la Madeleine”, one of the most elegant in Paris, and is called “Bloch of Chicago.” It was adapted by Tristan Bernard, a leading French author, himself a Jews, from a play by Anne Nichols. The plot is not original and has a marked resemblance to “Abie’s Irish Rose.’ However, the fact that it was adopted by M. Bernard ensured its success.

Bernard did more than translate the play. He added to it not only French humor, but also Jewish humor. And more than that. In the interval between the third and the fourth act, he introduced a competition—for the best Jewish joke. Every evening the members of the audience are invited to come on the stage, and relate Jewish stories, Jewish anecdotes, Jewish jokes. And the management of the theatre offers a prize for the best Jewish story told every evening.

This competition proved a great draw, and it is said that many people go to the theatre merely for the sake of telling their favorite stories before so large an audience. The Jews in the audience are by no means the only ones to enjoy this interlude. Non-Jews enjoy it as much. A remarkably cheerful and homely atmosphere is created, and Jews and Frenchmen are united by a bond of laughter.

The choice of this play for the opening night of the Paris “season,” and the atmosphere of harmony and friendship between Jew and Christian that is evident to every visitor to the theatre, are an exceedingly welcome sign that there are still places in Europe which the mad wave of anti-Semitism has not reached.

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