Letters | Oct. 27, 2021


From ‘Little Caesar’ to Benjamin Braddock
Regarding “Should a non-Jewish actor play a Jew” (Oct. 21):
With that logic, Jewish actors should not depict non-Jewish people. We’ll have to eliminate a whole lot of classic films.


Should a hearing actor play a deaf character?
I read “Should a non-Jewish actor play a Jew?” with bemused interest. I cannot fathom how audiences could identify an actor being a non-Jew playing a Jewish role, unless the Jewish role requires spoken Hebrew or Yiddish. In that case, it likely would be a dead giveaway and be problematic because of the level of familiarity or rather non-familiarity with the relevant language.

For decades now, roles involving deaf characters, particularly those who use American Sign Language, have been given to hearing actors who have had to learn signs for these roles and have had to hire American Sign Language experts who are deaf. Those who know American Sign Language can quickly identify actors who really do not know American Sign Language and see those actors as fake representations.

There have been multiple protests with studios seemingly reluctant to hire deaf actors despite the fact that an increasingly large contingent of deaf actors has emerged on the scene. The tide is slowly changing, with increasing representation by deaf actors ever since Marlee Matlin won her Oscar for “Children of a Lesser God.” However, this misappropriation of deaf roles continues.


In “Making a minyan in a war zone with Joe Goldstein” (Last Word, Oct. 20), Goldstein’s law firm, Murphy and McGonigle, was misspelled. Also, he joined Kesher Israel before the outbreak of the pandemic, not as the article stated. He’s still waiting to attend services in person.


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