Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy: A Modern Transgender Hero

October 8, 2014 8:04 PM

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There is one Jewish short story (later made into a play and a film) to which I can very intimately relate. It's Isaac Bashevis Singer's Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy. I had the pleasure of attending an updated, klezmer/pop version of the play, directed by Shirley Serotsky, with music by Jill Sobule, last week at Theatre J in downtown Washington, D.C.

As a young trans girl growing up as a yeshiva boy in Queens, New York, I found that this play resonated deeply within me. The eponymous Yentl, who goes by the name Anshel as a yeshiva boy, challenges the gender norms of that extinct European world of the Jewish Pale and its predominantly Orthodox Je...

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