Yiddish Theater: A Love Story | 2007
A documentary about the struggles of a unique woman, Zypora Spaisman, the extraordinary 84-year-old actress and a Holocaust survivor, who has kept Folksbiene, the oldest running Yiddish theater in America, alive. This story portrays the fight of both an old art form to stay relevant, and an old actress to find meaning and a stage in a society that worships youth. Shot in real time in one of the coldest winters in New York, the film follows Zypora through the hectic week during which she must raise enough funds to keep her last show going, and possibly even transfer it to Broadway. The documentary incorporates rare interviews with some of the oldest legends of Yiddish theater, including Shifra Lerer, Felix Fibich and Seymour Rechzeit. The chronicle captures places that are part of New York Jewish history, which no longer exist, such as the original 2nd Avenue Deli along with its Yiddish walk of fame. Zypora Spaisman was born in Lublin, Poland in 1916. After surviving the Holocaust, Spaisman immigrated to the United States in the 1950s and became an actress. Her burning passion for the stage and for the Yiddish language kept New York's famed Folksbiene Yiddish Theater alive for 42 years. Spaisman retired when she was 84, but refused to just sit at home. Instead, she embarked on a new production with the Yiddish Public Theater. Her charisma attracted an entire company of actors and producers, young and old, to partake in her project. This tale captures the spirit of Spaisman and her love for Yiddish theater.