Becoming Golda


While many Israelis express dissatisfaction with the country’s current crop of political leaders, Golda Meir’s reputation continues to grow — 37 years after she died. Kiev-born Meir (nee Meyerson), who served as prime minister from 1969-’74, is the subject of “Golda’s Balcony,” a one-woman show in which actress Tovah Feldshuh has starred for a dozen years.

Becoming Golda is an exacting process for Feldshuh, who undergoes an hour and a half of makeup transformation (padding, varicose veins, special nose, etc.) before each performance. New York photographer Paul Margolis documented the reverse process, Golda reverting to Tovah, and meeting audience members after a recent performance at Queens College.

To maintain historical authenticity, Margolis worked with black-and-white film, shooting with old pre-digital Leica and Rolleiflex cameras.

“The classic equipment and techniques continue to be viable in the digital age,” Margolis said. “I was intrigued with the idea of using a camera similar to those that would have been used to photograph Golda in 1973, when ‘Golda’s Balcony’ is set. I like black-and-white for the timeless, classic look that it gives and its archival permanence.”

“Golda’s Balcony,” which opened in 2003, set a Broadway record as the longest-running one-woman show in history.

Jewish Week staff photographer Michael Datikash documented Margolis’ work, using a state-of-the-art camera, a digital Cannon EOS and Fuji X-10.