Rank and File: Julie Zuckerman Book Launch in Modi’in

Plus, J-Town Playhouse present Dan Gordon’s ‘Irena’s Vow’ in Jerusalem and Holocaust survivor Betty Kazin recounts her remarkable life story

“The Book of Jeremiah” by Julie Zuckerman.
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BOOK LAUNCH IN MODI’IN: It took quite some perseverance for Julie Zuckerman to create her first novel, “The Book of Jeremiah,” which is published on May 3. “The book took me five years to write and another three years to find a publisher,” the Modi’in resident, a native of Trumbull, Connecticut, told Haaretz. “I wrote it early mornings,” added the longtime high-tech marketing executive.

“The Book of Jeremiah” author Julie Zuckerman.
Courtesy

The book started as a story with the prompt being a character that definitely wasn’t her: an 82-year-old Jewish man. “Once I finished it, I really liked the character,” she recalled. “I wanted to unravel his life.” She added that the book’s takeaway is it “acknowledges the darkness while leading us towards the light, and towards each other.” She will discuss her book at a book signing and reception with Jessica Steinberg, a Times of Israel editor, at the Sklar Levy Gallery, Modi’in, at 19:30 on April 29. For more info, visit Julie's website.

THE ‘VOW’ FACTOR: On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, J-Town Playhouse will present Dan Gordon’s play “Irena’s Vow” in Jerusalem next Wednesday. “What grabbed me about the story is that it’s a true story,” director Yardena Buxner told Haaretz. “It is absolutely crazy that it actually happened. It was written with connection to people who knew Irena.”

Buxner, who is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Haifa, noted: “The thing that blew my mind is that [Polish nurse Irene Gut] was 18-19 years old when she risked her life to save 11 Jews and she hid them in the Kommandant’s mansion right under his nose.” She added: “It’s also her personality; she has humor, bravery, faith. I really want people to know this story.” The cast includes Gillian Kay, Rivka Deray, Dale David Boccaccio Honor, Yedidya Fraiman, Lauritz Streck, Katie Hodari, Rean Combrinck and Bracha Daniel. Performances will run through May 16. For tickets, call 02-566-1181.

A SURVIVOR’S REMARKABLE STORY: On the Tuesday morning before Holocaust Memorial Day, survivor Betty Kazin will tell her remarkable story — of hiding from the Nazis in the Netherlands — to ESRA, the English Speaking Residents Association, in Zichron Yaakov.

“Everybody has one mother,” Kazin (nèe Rosenbaum), who grew up in Eibergen, told Haaretz. “I had three: My biological; the mother who hid me; and the mother who educated me where I grew up.” She said her biological mother, Johanna Frederika Suzanna Zion, kept a diary “that was humorous and filled with pictures taken by my father” from just before her birth, so “it helped me understand what happened at the beginning of my life.” Johanna was betrayed in hiding, along with Betty’s infant brother, and murdered in Sobibor. Her father, pharmacist Ephraim Izaak Levie Rosenbaum, was also eventually deported. Betty was hidden with her “second” mother, Berta, and Jan Willem Hageman. He was killed for working with the underground.

After the war, she was raised by Nora Zion-de Jong, who married Betty’s uncle. Betty eventually moved to Israel, got married and has four children. For more info, call Betty at 054-559-6984 or visit the ESRA website.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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