News Briefs: Opera Composer Honored, NBA Star Converting to Judaism, and More

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Opera Composer Honored for Show that Debuted Locally

Opera Philadelphia Composer-in-Residence David Hertzberg received the Best New Opera award April 13 from the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) for The Wake World, which debuted in Philadelphia in September 2017.

“The Wake World represents a deeply personal vision, an attempt to render in lurid detail the strange, frightening, in-articulable mystery of imagination, into which I poured every iota of my creative being,” Hertzberg said. “To have this work recognized by a jury of such distinguished and probing musical minds is inexpressibly gratifying and moving.”


“David Hertzberg is a gifted composer-librettist whose experimental, site-specific work for Opera Philadelphia was an outstanding example of today’s rich contemporary opera scene,” MCANA President John Fleming said.

Jewish Educator Diane A. King Dies at 92

Former Gratz College Professor Diane A. King died at her Rydal home on March 27. She was 92.

King attended Gratz College at the age of 14 (the college waived its age requirement) and earned a teaching certificate in Jewish education, according to son Louis King. She later earned a chemistry degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

King taught at Germantown Jewish Centre for 17 years, also earning both a master’s degree and a doctorate of education from Dropsie College. She then taught at Gratz into her 80s.

In 1983, she received the Humanitarian Award from the Federation Allied Jewish Appeal Israel Emergency Fund. She also was the first woman to earn an honorary Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewish Educators Assembly in 1998.

First Kosher Wine, Now Conversion for Amar’e Stoudemire

Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire is converting to Judaism, according to JTA.

Stoudemire, 35, told an HBO reporter on April 8 that he is “in the process” of converting. He was speaking at an Israel Summit at Harvard University.

Stoudemire has said he has “Hebrew roots” for several years and lived in Israel in 2017 playing basketball for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he partially owns.

Earlier this year, Stoudemire launched a line of kosher-for-Passover Israeli wines.

Survey: Knowledge of Holocaust Lacking in United States

More than four in 10 millennials believe that substantially less than 6 million Jews (2 million or less) were killed during the Holocaust, according to a survey conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

In addition, 45 percent of Americans can’t name a single concentration camp.

“The study found significant gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust,” Claims Conference board member Matthew Bronfman said. “We must take a look at these results and determine where and how best we can begin teaching the next generation these critical lessons, which must resonate for decades to come.”

Other findings:

  • Seven out of 10 say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than previously.
  • A majority (58 percent) believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.
  • More than nine out of 10 respondents believe all students should learn about the Holocaust.

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