Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
For centuries, Yiddish was a lively lingua franca used in Jewish communities throughout the world. For about 100 years, from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, as the outside world began to affect these communities, Yiddish theater was a vibrant worldwide phenomenon, producing great and renowned actors, playwrights, and theatrical companies. Yiddish theater was particularly well known for addressing the pressing social issues of the Jewish community with wit and great humanity. Many familiar names in American theater and cinema got their start in the Yiddish theaters of New York. Uncle Moses, a rare 1932 Yiddish-language film production, captures a performance by Maurice Schwartz, one of the premiere actors in that world. In the story, Uncle Moses has emigrated to the U.S. from the old world. There, he was merely a butcher. Here, he is a wealthy garment manufacturer. He employs many of the people from his his old village in his sweatshops and, paternalistically, considers them his family. It is difficult for him to understand the union movement which is developing among them, and he fights it tooth and nail. He is a widower, and when the prospect of marriage dawns between him and the feisty, radical daughter of some of his workers, all sorts of complications arise.
conflict, labor [work], family, forbidden-love, immigrant, Judaism, labor-relations, striker, sweatshop, union [labor union], union-dispute, values