Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7 pm, Temple Sinai, Newport News
Paul Goldberg, author of The Yid, a black comedy about the last days of Stalinist Russia, will speak at Temple Sinai.
The Yid begins in late February 1953 in Moscow, where Stalin is hatching his plan to unleash his own version of the Final Solution, a plan for a massive deportation of Russia’s Jews. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night at the apartment of Solomon Shlomovich Levinson, a former actor at the now-closed Jewish State Theatre, to carry him off to the infamous Lubyanka Prison. Levinson, however, has other ideas, and reacts in a, to put it mildly, totally unexpected way. Soon he has picked up a motley crew of co-conspirators including a former Civil War machine gunner turned surgeon, a black American engineer who fled the racial prejudices of his native country and a young woman out for revenge. Together they hatch a scheme to take down the mad king, Stalin.
Goldberg takes on fascism, anti-Semitism, genocide, Russian history and other extremely unlikely subjects for humor. There is a strong theatrical flair to the story as Levinson uses what he learned as an actor to carry out the conspirators’ plan. Historical figures also play parts. For example, the ghost of the great Russian-Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels, best known for playing King Lear in Yiddish looms throughout.
Goldberg immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1973. He has written two books about the Soviet human rights movement and is the editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a weekly publication on the business and politics of cancer. He is also the co-author of a book on the American health care system. The Yid is Goldberg’s first novel.
Goldberg’s appearance is made possible by the Jewish Book Council, through local sponsors Temple Sinai and the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Temple Sinai at 757-596-8352.