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In fair Jerusalem, where we lay our scene

by michael November 05 2008
Things to doArt
William Shakespeare
This man did not speak a lick of Hebrew

O Jerusalem, fair city of gold,
That by th' east-borne sun is granted luster,
Thy streets a dusty wonder to behold,
Where men and zephyrs both alike do bluster,
A surfeit of chickpeas thou mayst call thine,
And red kubbeh soup that brims with Swiss chard,
Yet thou givest cause to thy glory malign
In failing to grant due props to the Bard.
Like vanquished foes thou constrainest his verse
Within rough-hewn shackles (thy desert tongue);
To render Hamlet in Hebrew, zounds, perverse!
'Tis better to leave tuneless songs unsung.
  But if desire thy heart true English rhyme,
  Don't worry, we've got Shakespeare Yerushalayim.

Er...no, really, as English speakers, we're all lucky to be able to appreciate Shakespeare in his original tongue, and fortunately, Jerusalem is now home to a Shakespeare-themed English-language theater group, Shakespeare Jerusalem. Founded and organized by Anglo immigrants with extensive theatrical experience both in Israel and abroad, the group aims to strengthen Jerusalem culture by exposing Israelis to the beauty of Shakespeare's plays in their original language, employing both native- and foreign-born actors. 

Shakespeare Jerusalem's debut production, the swashbuckling Hundred Years' War drama Henry V, will be running at the Ma'abada throughout November (there will be six performances on four separate days). Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear, "Once more unto the breach!" shouted in an Israeli accent.

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