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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 17, 2013 By David Holzel Washington Jewish Week "I think Hank Greenberg was the great American hero," Washington filmmaker Aviva Kempner says. "What he did on Yom Kippur. What he faced. He was our Jackie Robinson." Thirteen years after the de- but of "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," her docu- mentary about the baseball great, Kempner is rereleasing the film on DVD--including an additional two hours of interviews that didn't make the original cut. Greenberg, known to Jew- ish fans as the Detroit Tigers' power hitter who sat out an important game during the 1934 pennant race because it fell on Yom Kippur, scored achievements rivaling those of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Greenberg served in World War II and, after his retire- ment from playing, went on to be an owner-manager of the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. He faced anti-Semitism throughout his playing career. The DVD of "extras" in- cludes players who were con- temporaries of Greenberg's talking about him and how baseball used to be. In one humorous juxtaposition, Kempner follows a clip of a spirited argument for why being from the South makes a better player with a clip of an equally confident asser- tion that being in the North makes a better player. And she weaves throughout the CD an audio interview with Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams. There are insights from baseball broadcasters and writers such as Washington's Shirley Povich. And the fans have their say: Lawyer Alan Dershowitz tells how he hid his baseball glove behind his Talmud in school. Detroit- born brothers Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. Sander Levin talk about their passion for the game and reverence for Greenberg. Joanne Kinney, identified as a "batgirl," de- scribes how she convinced Greenberg to do her math homework for her. Kempner spoke about Greenberg, the second time around: Washington Jewish Week: What explains the fact that Hank Greenberg is still a household name? Kempner: He was a very powerful hitter. He almost broke Babe Ruth's record. He stood up to adversity. He fought in war. And our heroes in Judaism are the stories we keep repeating. He taught America that he could be true to his religion, even in a pennant race. Washington Jewish Week: What are the highlights of the extras for you? Kempner: Who else could get Ted Williams, the great Hall of Famer, and Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg in the same DVD extras? I'm pretty proud of that.Also, Greenberg made all these great innova- tions in baseball, like taking mitts. [Before the practice changed, players dropped their mitts in the field rather than taking them back to the dugout.] I can't imagine what that was about. Also, there's more of Shirley Povich, [ac- tor] Walter Matthau, Senator [Carl] Levin and his brother, Congressman Sander Levin. Washington Jewish Week: You originally jumped on the idea for a documentary on Hank Greenberg because he was Jewish and played for your hometown team, the Detroit Tigers. Were you also a baseball fan? Kempner: My dad always talked about him. Every Yore Kippur my dad would talk about how Hank Greenberg hadn't played on Yom Kippur '34. I grew up thinking Hank Greenberg was part of Kol Nidre services. And another thing--I was tired of always seeing these nebbishes, these nerds on the screen. When Greenberg died [in 1986], I said this is a Jewish hero I grew up with--a 6-foot-4, strapping Jewish male. Of course I had my crushes in baseball. So I thought I've got to do it, but I've got to do it from the point of view of the fans. The worshiping of him was amazing. And luckily he lived up to the image. Washington Jewish Week: Has your thinking on Green- berg changed? Kempner: No. Can you imagine what it is to go every day to work and have people yell and scream names to you? It's important for people to see what he faced--and in America. Maybe we can be a little more sympathetic to the others in this country, to immigrants or to people who don't look exactly like us or practice their religion like us. What I think one of his greatest significances is in '34 is not playing on Yore Kip- pur. He really taughtAmerica what our holiest day was. And how the Supreme Court still has the Hank Greenberg model, according to Justice Ginsburg. They won't have cases argued on Yom Kippur in case there's a Jewish lawyer. She said the justices can take off, but what if it's a lawyer? Washington Jewish Week: Do you think he really did a girl's math homework for three months? I wasn't sure what to make of that. Kempner: Absolutely. She swears by it. That was when you had access. There was that other man who followed Greenberg around at the airport and wound up sitting next to him on the plane. It's just a different era. Washington Jewish Week: I was amused at the section in the interviews where the veteran players are griping: about Astroturf, about the balls and bats players use now, about baseball today as showbiz. Kempner: Itwas the golden age of baseball. Games were played during the day. There was more pure hitting. It wasn't being a multimil- lionaire superstar. It was for the love of the game. I'm not saying that players today don't love the game. What I'm saying is the heroes of the game are the ones who played back then. Washington Jewish Week: Greenberg could have moved into showbiz, become a super- star, if he were playing today, don't you think? Kempner: I think he did exactly what he wanted to-- he went into management. He loved the game so much. And there were great inno- vations like the scoreboard, hiring African-Americans in the league. I don't think he was a showy man in that way but, yeah, he could have done pretty much anything he wanted to. Washington Jewish Week: Are you working on a new film? Kempner: I'm working on a film about the great philan- thropist Julius Rosenwald, the head of Sears Roebuck. One hundred years ago he gave away $62 million to a little over 5,000 schools for African-Americans, and gave to thousands of Afri- can-American artists and scholars. I think it's a great philanthropy story, and an unknown story between blacks and Jews. For information about the film, go to hankgreenberg- By Steve Lipman New York Jewish Week WARSAW, Poland--At a corner table in the Pod Samso- nem restaurant, under framed etchings of the Bible's Samson and ofoldWarsawstreetscapes, a middle-aged woman cuts up her "Jewish style" trout one recent evening. At other tables, next to walls linedwith framed photographs of rabbis, and menorahs on a small shelf, other customers eat their entrees of "Karp po ydowsku" (Jewish-style carp) and"Kavior ydowski" (Jewish caviar). Pod Samsonem (the name means "under Samson") is a prominent example in post- communist Poland of a grow- ing, but little-noticed part of Poles' interest in things Jewish: in this case, culinary nostalgia. In most major (and several minor) cities in the country, ones with negligible Jew- ish populations, non-Jews have established Jewish-style restaurants, none of them remotely kosher, which in ad- dition to serving traditional Eastern European Jewish fare, display Jewish photos, play klezmer music and sell Israeli wines, Jewish books and other Judaica items. Their servings are a change from the standard Polish fare, which is characterized by pork and kielbasa, pierogies and sour cucumber soup, and heavy use of cream and eggs in most dishes. The restaurants typically feature logos with Hebrew- style lettering, and names like Anatewka (in Lodz), Mazel Tov (Kielce), Klezmer Hois (a combination restaurant-inn in Krakow), or Mandragora (Lublin; the word means mandrake, from the Bible's Song of Songs). Enter one of these restau- rants, and you might think you've stepped into a small Jewish art gallery. Michael Schudrich, origi- nally from the United States and now Poland's chief rabbi, calls the restaurants another sign of Poles' attraction to the Jewish life that disappeared in the Holocaust. During nearly five decades of Communist rule, the country's schools offered "almost no information about the Jews," he says. "Two generations had no opportu- nity to learn about the Jewish contributions to Poland." Now, Poles are getting a literal taste of Jewish culture. Remedium, a restaurant established six months ago by a medical association in northern Szczecin, is probably the newest Jewish-style res- taurant in Poland; its dessert menu includes "dried tzimmes from TelAviv." Pod Samsonem (named for the sculptures of Samson on the building's outside walls) is probably the oldest, but no one knows for sure. The restaurants all op- erate independently of each other, and there is no central Jewish-style-restaurant-that- serves-treif organization. "How can it not be here?" Maria Ryczywolska, who man- ages Pod Samsonem and has collected the Jewish artifacts displayed on the walls, says of the restaurant, which is in a onetime Jewish neighborhood, across the street from St. Jacek Church. "Thirty percent of the population [ofprewarWarsaw] was Jewish." Ryczywolska is married to one of the men who rented the restaurant--which had of- fered a few Jewish dishes since 1958--from the Warsaw gov- ernment after communism fell in 1989 and private enterprise became legal. The new owners decided to bring in more Jewish cuisine, asking a Jewish friend to verify the dishes' authentic Jewish flavor. A Jewish-style restaurant in Poland carries a message that an Italian or Indian or other ethnic eatery doesn't--be- cause of the country's long and sometimes tragic relationship with the Jews who once lived here in large numbers. "It is something more. It's not good to forget apartofour heritage," Ryczywolska says. That's why she, an art historian, searched for the Judaica items that en- hance the restaurant's Jewish atmosphere. "I want our cus- tomers to learn something." The customers? Mostly non-Jewish Poles, mostly middle-aged. Sometimes Jew- ish tourists from the U.S. or Israel stop by. "Even a couple of rabbis," Ryczywolska says. Jewish-style cuisine usu- ally includes fish, chicken and chicken soup. In one such restaurant, Konstanty Gebert, aprominent writer and longtime Jewish activist, found "schaboszczak po ydowsku--porkcutlet, Jew- GIVE A GRADUATION GIFT THAT WILL Empower our youth with Jewish values, Jewish pride and love of Israel. GIVE A LIFE MEMBERSHIP FOR $212. Enroll at or call 800.664.5646. This offer is valid through December 31, 2013. A portion of the Life Membership enrollment fee is allocated for a subscription to Hadassah Magazine. In keeping with IRS regulations, membership dues/enrollment fees are not considered to be tax-deductible contributions. @2013 Hadassah. "[he Women's Zionist Organization of America, inc. Hadassah is a registered trademark of Hadassah, ~e Women's Zionist Organization of America. inc. ish style" on the menu. "What makes it 'Jewish style' is that it has a lot of garlic." These restaurants are "a bid for understanding, tolerance and expiation," says Joel Pad- owitz, author of "Triumph and Tragedy" (Feldheim Books), a new book about Jewish life in Poland. "It's positive ... it's coming from a good place, even if relatively superficial. [Poles'] fascination.., is rather super- ficial. They are interested in understanding Jewish culture but not Jewish ideas or ideals. This is all about conjuring up the trappings of Jewishness, and hardly ever an attempt to recreate anything of its essence." Ironically, members of Po- land's small Jewish communi- ty infrequently patronize these Jewish-style restaurants. Their preference, especially young Polish Jews', is Sephardic fare, not Ashkenazic--the falafel-pita-hummus served at the growing number of restaurants founded in Poland by Israelis. Steve Lipman is a staff writer for The New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission.