Thursday, June 9, 2011 | return to: arts


OU video debates anti-Semitism in Shakespeare

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The question of whether Britain’s most celebrated playwright was an anti-Semite is debated in a new video available on the Orthodox Union website.

Recorded in mid-April at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, “Shylock, Shakespeare and the Jews: Anti-Semitism in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ ” features Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the OU; theater director Barry Edelstein; and James Shapiro, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. The discussion is moderated by New York Times theater reporter Patrick Healy.

In the video, the panelists discuss the dichotomy between the anti-Semitism in “Merchant” and the Jewish character Shylock’s famous speech about Jews being no different from Christians.

To watch the video, visit


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