Before Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Jewish creators of Superman, had even conceived of their legendary superhero, there was Siegmund “Zisha” Breitbert, a Jewish strongman who could bend iron bars into the shape of braided challahs with his bare hands. While Superman had his iconic “S” affixed to his costume, Breitbart often had his performing garb emblazoned with a large Jewish star.
Along with Breitbart, Sidney Frankel (a matador) and Lena Bernstein (an aviatrix) were three well-known early 20th century Jewish daredevils. Though better known for their steely nerves than their Judaism, their public achievements helped to debunk negative anti-Semitic stereotypes. In the spring 2013 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, writer Cheryl Kempler delves into the lives of these Jewish icons whose names have slipped into obscurity since their days of celebrity. (This article is available for reprinting. Contact us for more information.)
Elsewhere in the issue, the self-contained Hasidic communities located primarily in New York state are the subject of “The American Shtetl.” Yiddish is their daily language and they keep the secular world at a distance. Writer Uriel Heilman reports on these modern incarnations of old-country shtetl life.
While the American shtetls are helping to perpetuate the Yiddish language, the mamaloshen (mother tongue) has been reinvigorated in other ways. Writer Dara Kahn details the various organizations and institutions committed to its preservation and promotion, including the Yiddish Book Center, an organization devoted to the dissemination of Yiddish books.
In his regular column, B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin gives his take on the state of the mamaloshen after attending and speaking at the “Permanence of Yiddish” conference in Paris.
With Passover less than a month away, the spring 2013 issue also examines the delicious potential of gourmet Passover food. Restaurant chefs around the country are revitalizing Passover recipes by spicing up traditional dishes with their own unique culinary flare.
All this and more can be found in the current issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine.
And for exclusive digital content, visit the magazine website.