Sunday, March 26, 2023 -
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Book it

Here is my dilemma of the week. Two novels I have read, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Life of Pi by Yann Martel, have been made into movies, and are getting fantastic reviews.

I remember the satisfaction I felt when I completed reading my 1,432 page hard cover Everyman’s Library classic copy of Les Miserables, with the iconic depiction of barefoot Cosette in cepia black and white, her caped hair blowing in the wind, her huge dark sad eyes looking up, a broom held in her hands. It was epic.

At the time, for I can’t remember how long afterward, I was consumed with the complexity and struggle of the themes and ideas of midat ha-rachamim, the attribute of compassion and mercy, versus midat ha-din, the attribute of justice and law.

I fell in love with the characters and the story.

Somehow in college I missed all the $21 Broadway specials for students. As luck would have it, though, I saw it a couple of years later for $14 (to be sure, in the furthest seat in the back, the highest part of the theatre).

When I reached the ticket collector and presented mine, it was a Wednesday matinee and I had just made it there in time. There was only one other woman in line with me. An elderly, white-haired woman, apparently she was an eccentric devotee, a New York character who never once missed a Wednesday matinee since the day the play opened on Broadway.

Along with everyone else in the theatre my heart fell and rose to  the passion, intensity and the anxiety of the stakes at hand in “One Day More.” I had tears in my eyes for the wrenching sadness of “Empty chairs” and “Drink With Me.” I was blown away by this unforgettable and enduring play.

The rest of this article is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at (303) 861-2234 or email

Tehilla Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park

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