This behind-the-scenes conversation with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Tovah Feldshuh, the leading ladies behind the off-Broadway hit Becoming Dr. Ruth, is co-presented by the Museum and New York Jewish Week. Dr. Ruth and Tovah chat with New York Jewish Week reporter Julia Gergely about their friendship, the new one-woman show, and being New Yorkers.
Watch the program below.
Recording transcript for Behind the Scenes with Dr. Ruth and Tovah Feldshuh
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: i'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage and i'm delighted to welcome you to today's behind the scenes chat with Dr.
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Ari Goldstein: West timer and toba failed to today's conversation is coming on the heels of opening night of tova fell to in becoming Dr Ruth or new production at the museum, which are very excited about which you'll hear all about today.
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Ari Goldstein: i'll hand things off now to New York Jewish group week reporter Julia girly to get us started.
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Julia Gergely: thanks for that introduction Ari I also want to thank them exam of Jewish heritage for partnering with us on this program Jeff simmons for bringing the idea to us.
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Julia Gergely: becky Phillips from 70 faces me media and thea why Voltaire for the new New York Jewish week for helping prepare promote and run this soon today.
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Julia Gergely: And before we get started, I want to mention that will be having a question and answer portion at the end of our conversation, so please write your questions in the Q amp a box at any point.
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Julia Gergely: And please specify who, the question is for either tovar Dr Ruth and i'll get to as many as I can, towards the end of our time here.
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Julia Gergely: So, as I already said, my name is Julia giggly and I am a reporter for the New York Jewish week i'm delighted to be joining these remarkable women toba felt felt you and Dr request timer who are here to talk about the process of becoming Dr Ruth both as an actress and as the real thing.
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Julia Gergely: Dr Ruth West time or maybe best known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and TV, but it turns out that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life born in Germany and.
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Julia Gergely: timer was sent to switch Switzerland at the age of 10 to escape the Holocaust, which was the last time she saw her immediate family.
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Julia Gergely: at the age of 17 She then went to Palestine and where she joined the hog and.
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Julia Gergely: This really freedom fighters was trained to be a sniper and was seriously injured in a bomb blast.
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Julia Gergely: She later moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and in 1956 arrived in the US, where she obtained her master's degree and doctorate of education, she is the author of 46 books, the executive producer of five documentaries and the subject of a hulu documentary titled ask Dr Ruth.
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Julia Gergely: toba felt to is an actress his career has spanned five decades.
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Julia Gergely: In 1975 she originally did the role of yentl on broadway she's played is really Prime Minister golden my air and gold this balcony, which is the longest running one woman play in broadway history.
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Julia Gergely: And she is also played Leona helmsley and Ruth Bader Ginsburg 12 I chose your most Jewish roles.
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Tovah Feldshuh: For there's no dearth.
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Tovah Feldshuh: of choice.
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Julia Gergely: Nova has also appeared in the TV on TV and the miniseries Holocaust as Defense attorney Danielle melnick online order as Naomi bunch the Jewish mother and Rachel blooms musical comedy crazy ex girlfriend and as deanna Monroe on the walking dead.
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Tovah Feldshuh: A Christian just.
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Julia Gergely: True, the one.
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Julia Gergely: The one last 111 she is also the recent author of a memoir titled louisville mother daughter and other roles I play so welcome to you both i'm so excited to talk to you today.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Thank you forgot something.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: torvalds latest book, which you mentioned, is wonderful, except with the hall said she played i'm not In it, she has to hide second volume.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: and make me in number one number two when you say who's first timer you have to say who came with Simon how old, are very important, I don't forget, where I come from the mind go ahead.
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Julia Gergely: Okay, so so last night, was the opening of the one woman show becoming Dr Ruth tova you are wearing your dress.
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Tovah Feldshuh: From am.
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Julia Gergely: How did it go to it opened up the Museum of Jewish heritage it's off broadway so how did it feel to finally get the opening night.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Well, first of all we're very grateful, have let me just do this in the spirit of truth is stress was made for me by the designer Bevin dylan VI VI n di ll O when on the upper West side she's wonderful.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Great credit.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Wait one, second, how can we make it is for me yet.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: As everybody knows, I love babies.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Tomorrow tomorrow okay.
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Tovah Feldshuh: The the opening was thrilling and it was thrilling we are live in gratitude that we got an opening at 630 last night, our opening night party was a, let me say altered to protect everybody because of this spike in Kofi.
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Tovah Feldshuh: And we had a beautiful reception in the lobby.
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Tovah Feldshuh: That was shorter and just box food where nobody shared any food and people lined up to meet the Queen, she was in her throne, and there was this long.
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Tovah Feldshuh: allowed me to meet Dr Ruth it was it was a thrill look i'm born on 19th and lexington i'm brought up in this city.
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Tovah Feldshuh: I went to Sarah Lawrence and briefly to Columbia and my parents graduate from nyu and harvick we're we're we're part of this city so to play your hometown.
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Tovah Feldshuh: You know i've played cities all over the world, including London Sydney Melbourne to play your hometown there's nothing like it, and the heat of the New York audiences.
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Tovah Feldshuh: there's no parallel So here we were talking about you know, I was in happening with story in the museum where Ruth is on the board.
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Tovah Feldshuh: A museum, that is also dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust and Ruth does not present her backstory.
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Tovah Feldshuh: so prominently as she meets people she's she's there to do her ciccone she's there to keel she's there to help she's there to create the possibility of intimacy and orgasm for every walking human being on the server so she doesn't say hello i'm Ruth West timer I was on the kindertransport.
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Tovah Feldshuh: So the golden box of this play that mark shane St Germain so.
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Tovah Feldshuh: brilliantly did was he gives us for history and where she came from and how she propelled her life to become an international sex therapist probably the most famous international sex therapist.
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Tovah Feldshuh: So that for the audience the messages if MU K West timer can do this think what you can think what.
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Julia Gergely: Dr How does it feel to see your life and your career brought to the stage and a show like this, so.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: First of all, tova last night was brilliant and I just i'm sitting there at the edge of my seat and I don't miss a work and i'm watching.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And that it is like fantastic to see her being Dr Davis me to see her dance to see her the sky being my love affair to see her describing my managers my children were there, my grandchildren were there, they were all.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: riveted to their seats watching over, and I am so glad that the Jewish week is doing this talk for all of you and toba for the whole weekend, you have to smile, because you are brilliant I just read one of you, and it says brilliant.
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Tovah Feldshuh: You.
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Julia Gergely: So, are you guys longtime friends, how did you meet and what did it take to prepare for the show.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Okay, we are young trans friends, however, I came to see all of our performances, even the Queen of mean and.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I usually told I used to live way up and had great I don't permit that anymore at the age of 93 and a half, I don't want to be picked up by a woman, I want to be picked up by a man.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Now so but I have been to told us daughter's wedding I danced at the wedding right and I was probably the last one to leave at the wedding.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Right, so I know about 12 hours, Korea, I know about my husband, being a brilliant lawyer and I did sit next to him and the performance in that i'm terms.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And is very supportive about that Fred West time is not alive anymore, because West, I met would have loved tova playing doctor all talking about all of those terminologies that I use, I sometimes think when she says orgasm I listened very carefully, I sometimes think that I am the actress.
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Tovah Feldshuh: we're having a great time also have a great great advantage to play in historic figure that's alive.
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Tovah Feldshuh: And that is so generous, so I.
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Tovah Feldshuh: As Ruth would tell you I went to visit her at least every Wednesday, when I was first offered the role in the north coast rap and salon of California when coven this full blown in this artistic.
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Tovah Feldshuh: director David Allen Stein called me and said, I have a play and I want you to do a few won't do it, I won't do it, and if you come, I will fill you and we had 15 days of rehearsal which is not much two weeks.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Isolated the director, the stage manager myself and my dresser for people in an empty theater and then they streamed it and we did the script.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Practically verbatim as written, then I took the Scotch words and mark St Germain and we started to change the script and then for this run this.
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Tovah Feldshuh: This version of of this play is not published, and it is magnificent march St Germain.
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Tovah Feldshuh: The beginning of the end allowed certain cuts and allowed the entry of the new stories specifically wanted about Joel in princeton which is hilarious.
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Tovah Feldshuh: And so i'm very excited because I think the play works, I think it works better than ever, even though it's been around for for for a while and it did have a prior New York production with a wonderful actress in it.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: wait a moment tova you have to tell everybody that we still have some performances, I will be there i'll do question and answers with you.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: and tell them the dates that it's now still all and then tell them all that Dr K West ham, is working to get over to off broadway no question anybody who is listening to outside now tovar will explain to you what we need in order to go to off broadway and i'm going with that.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Thank you very much, we have 14 performances left and starting tomorrow tomorrow night Saturday high for life for December 18 and we have seven performances, a week here we go.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Saturday night at seven Sunday afternoon at two Monday night at seven Tuesday afternoon at two Wednesday night at seven and Thursday at two and seven.
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Tovah Feldshuh: and on two of those days, the museum is completely open, you can come, particularly on Thursday come have lunch in exhibit and go to a play it's a very unique experience, Dr Ruth will be with us for Q amp a after the performance, this coming.
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Tovah Feldshuh: This coming Wednesday December 22nd and closing performance January 2 which will also be screen.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Tell them the food in the cafeteria on the second floor is wonderful last night after the performance, I took a sandwich old and I ate with relish it was the live show and tell them all it's kosher.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Yes, it's kosher and the theater is newly renovated and refurbished it's probably the most beautiful.
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Tovah Feldshuh: off broadway house i've ever played, and that is saying a lot because i've spent 48 years on the broadway stage and, of course, on one of the states as well.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Even or not it would take close to a million dollars to transfer us uptown why and explain why.
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Tovah Feldshuh: We have the props we have the set, we have the constant, we have the actors, we have the right side the right, we have the living the living genius we have Dr Ruth we have the director, everything is in a box.
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Tovah Feldshuh: But to transfer it, we have to pay for rent rent new lighting equipment and we have to have, believe it or not, a half a million dollars for publicity to make sure we survive in these challenging times that's where the money is but believe me.
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Tovah Feldshuh: I know how to make this work and how to make this run, the first thing that happens when the box office starts to flag is income for the actor and said, would you take minimum.
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Tovah Feldshuh: i'm telling you now if we start to flag up take minimum okay and i'll still do my shows a week you don't have to pay me a fortune.
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Tovah Feldshuh: it's a brilliant story and it's not just a story for today it's a story about possibility about what you can do with your life, if you so desire, and if you have the relentless addition.
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Julia Gergely: So.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I tell you my toba says, not just for Jews last night, the President of Ben Gurion university was there.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I just got awarded an honorary doctorate from Ben Gurion university and not only that in the play tova portrays beautifully how upset I was in Switzerland.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Not to be able to go to high school and now I established a scholarship but I don't need any more money it's done.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: At Ben Gurion university and there will be some bedwyn girls tova that will get the fellowship the scholarship.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: because up until recently between girls like me in Switzerland, could you go to school, after four years of basic schooling, they couldn't go to high school hallelujah now they can get a scholarship.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: scholarship in faculty at Ben Gurion university and some major when girls already applying for it makes me very happy.
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Tovah Feldshuh: How about how about a human being, who doesn't have a high school degree doesn't have a baccalaureate but has her masters and a doctorate how many people you've met like that, if anybody before we.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Talk about having vision and convincing people to believe in you, I mean anything, anything is possible, I say we go to off broadway.
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Tovah Feldshuh: And we don't make the fortunate takes to just transfer just a bit a bit of benefit of town to the smallest broadway house, maybe the Helen Hayes or the food in the future life for this place, we need to keep the plank on.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: weight.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: You take them whoever is instrumental in getting tova to offer a powerhouse good sex for the rest of your life so tell the Jewish week.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Okay, anybody who goes with tobacco and i'm funnel she's the lead, I could never do what she does my heart it's my story, but I couldn't do what she does.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: i'm going with her, and this Jewish week in the Jewish tradition sex is never assume it's an obligation, between a husband and a wife on Friday night, and you will anybody who helps to get tova of.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: super up or guys for the rest of your lives i've never said that, before I always said before good sex now i'm saying so pap orgasm.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: talk.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: To say some orgasm.
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Julia Gergely: So, Dr Ruth, as I said earlier, you in the past, you haven't always sharing a lot about your background it's mostly been.
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Julia Gergely: Your your sex therapy advice so i'm curious to know what's changed in the last few years, that has made you want to share your story and how it feels to be able to have it on stage like this.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: So when when maxim jemaine approached me first I said no, and outside, I already talking i've then he came to meet me and I liked him, and then they Bajo up came to see me, but nobody told her, like you, nobody danced with three they know that I don't like to dance with women, except you.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: So.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I then I decided once I decided that Mike sometime and we'll do it, I read some of his other books and he's brilliant he did a play that's how I met him, he did a play for its last session.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And the actor tovar Martin told, mark you have to meet Dr miles West, I met you don't know her story, so he came to meet me I bought my autobiography some other books and the rest is history and.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I am very happy, the way it came out and last night tool that we have to tell the Jewish week again last night, you were brilliant and you're going to be brilliant on off huawei I did down people my prophecy of word way for over and i'm going with her.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Excellent I see in the chat that my friend Mike the license and super into them you suffer musician has asked how I can get my voice out there yeah what time of the movies coming well i'm a little behind yeah.
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Tovah Feldshuh: that's yeah I need to track these things by saying.
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Tovah Feldshuh: And that's how I do it i'm just resting today it's my day off.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Now tova you know that i've been working with pmi Minister of communication for 35 years now, he wants to talk a tire no such thing now is going miss tova to have watery.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Within my.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Being the minion self compassion, but I want to say something about the zeal i'm on the board of directors of the museum the play is dedicated.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: to people like me who lost their entire families during the Holocaust and it's also dedicated to my family who did not survive, which makes me very happy last night over the.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Many people of the Board were there and Peggy can ever stare at and as a director of the Brazil track League, it was there Jeff came back was the.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: boss man, the President of the museum was there, and the President of Ben Gurion university who few weeks ago gave me on zoom.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: The owner like a doctor, because I couldn't go to his eyes and he was said everybody loves it I predict over that once on us for way you're going to go to Europe with a play after the violence and you're going to go to Israel and I go with you.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Thank you, that would be great I actually met a wonderful friend of Bruce Wayne on Saturdays yesterday, and he said what I like to do.
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Tovah Feldshuh: What I like to do it in Argentina see your employees, where do I plan to spend more than we can bear yes Santa like Center they Dr Ruth you know, Sarah.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: You know what he told me that all canopies my good friend.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Yes, with his husband Michael Vera, he told me that you speak fluent Spanish.
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Tovah Feldshuh: I do, but I would have to speak fluent Spanish is you, you know Allah yeah we stop.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: It so maybe it may be to go to so you can talk cable, then I go with you.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Okay, good luck to tutor me but that'd be great that'd be great maybe we could do with the English speaking here anyway, the point is to keep it going in New York and the golden box of her journey is.
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Tovah Feldshuh: amazing and my sweet friend Michael Isaacs and again a great composer has just said he'd like to invest so Michael you get an a plus blue ribbon for being the first thank you.
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Julia Gergely: that's why we're here.
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Julia Gergely: So toby you recently wrote a memoir that came out this year titled lily the l mother daughter, and all the roles I played, and you open your memoir with the opinions your mother has on all the different roles throughout your career.
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Julia Gergely: So i'm curious to know what you think she would say of this role, and when and how you decided to write a book and and when do you say you had that in yeah.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Well, first of all, when it came to build them a year, and my mother said Java actually was from the bronx child I read your plot by how you looked Sally leaf I wasn't 10 golden mania zero.
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Tovah Feldshuh: was her opinion she she she loved route so i'm sure that I would get a high mark for portraying such a an incredible and virtuous.
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Tovah Feldshuh: story, as somebody heard me on an npr interview and call my manager and said, I think, to overthrow to as writers voice.
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Tovah Feldshuh: i'd like you to write a book and they came here to meet with me and they didn't like a memoir icicle i'm just a broadway entity and really a broadway baby, so I don't feel i'm.
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Tovah Feldshuh: Internationally famous enough to write about all about me in my life, so I thought I would write my life that seemed to my mother's eyes was born in 1911.
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Tovah Feldshuh: On the dining room table in the bronx and right my mother's life as seem to lie as Google 40 years apart, so we didn't have.
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Tovah Feldshuh: A generation gap, we have a generation chasm and she gave me a lot of tough love she had very what appeared to be very conditional love is when I was a child, which was difficult for me, my father was a.
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Tovah Feldshuh: was a Viennese boom, you know, he was the from Viennese family, even though he's an American boy very expressive very loving very I love you because you brief kind of a fellow and my mother was your shoes.
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Tovah Feldshuh: i'd come home from Sarah Lawrence and my faculty lily she's here she's here and my mother would say what she wearing.
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Tovah Feldshuh: she's wearing a nice outfit you know.
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Tovah Feldshuh: was really difficult, so I I wrote this book about our lives and how to trees, which back, which runs separate ends of an acre of land finally ballard together as mother and daughter, she was an incredible.
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Tovah Feldshuh: incredibly strong woman and she was quiet moment to my father, my father died, and she just blew that the lily she was and started to speak out about her things and not just like beautiful.
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Tovah Feldshuh: wife.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And I want to add something tova I met her mother couple of times tova enter husband took excellent care of that mother.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Even when she was not well they took her to a place that took it to place and to dinner of where they thought that she would enjoy and she deserves a few golden staff for that one.
00:24:47.640 --> 00:24:57.450
Tovah Feldshuh: Thank you, I think, for all of us be good to your parents, they gave you your life and when they leave your their bodies, you want to be able to hold your head up.
00:24:57.780 --> 00:25:03.750
Tovah Feldshuh: and say I did the best I proved by these human beings and my relationship with my mother is complete.
00:25:04.170 --> 00:25:19.410
Tovah Feldshuh: She even died in her bed over 103 as David my brother and I promised her, she was dying hospital, so I loved her issue was very funny I took her to see miss Saigon and she said as and the point of theater not to have their laptops.
00:25:20.160 --> 00:25:27.900
Tovah Feldshuh: So that was that one, and then I have size, a corn, so I were great bras I said that she's got big presence in it.
00:25:28.290 --> 00:25:44.010
Tovah Feldshuh: And my mother's side see and my daughter size sees my daughters getting off of planes not covering the Spain my mother takes a look at my daughter she takes a look at me she takes care of itself, and she says wow I guess it skips a generation regarding decisive my very, very fun.
00:25:44.700 --> 00:25:49.500
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I do a daughter amanda wedding was wonderful and I dance.
00:25:49.890 --> 00:25:56.160
Tovah Feldshuh: You dance with the samba bands, you were great I had a Brazilian samba band come as a surprise at 12 midnight and.
00:25:56.610 --> 00:26:01.050
Tovah Feldshuh: Then you were there, you were there I loved it.
00:26:02.910 --> 00:26:07.800
Julia Gergely: So I want to ask you guys, this is the New York Jewish week I want to ask you guys are both.
00:26:08.400 --> 00:26:21.720
Julia Gergely: New Yorkers at this point in your life so you tova you lived in New York, your whole life, Dr Ruth you came in 1956, what do you love most about living in New York and what is the city give you that you want to give back.
00:26:22.140 --> 00:26:23.400
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Okay talk about fast.
00:26:24.390 --> 00:26:34.320
Tovah Feldshuh: Cultural it has cultural excellence and incredible excitement it, it is a place where with no money you can learn a tremendous amount of we love our.
00:26:34.620 --> 00:26:50.580
Tovah Feldshuh: house in quad, which is the hamptons we spent the whole pandemic fair or unfair coven last February, we were there from last March of 20 right through January of this year and then you know i've been well for a long time and, in all events.
00:26:51.870 --> 00:26:58.620
Tovah Feldshuh: Even though I love nature and we live overlooking the lake around the park we overlooked central park.
00:26:59.520 --> 00:27:06.000
Tovah Feldshuh: New York offers a variety and the availability of learning at every at every.
00:27:06.300 --> 00:27:17.040
Tovah Feldshuh: corner, whether it's being invited to a free dress rehearsal adventure punk opera or just going to the metropolitan museum with double masks I love that I also feel.
00:27:17.400 --> 00:27:29.130
Tovah Feldshuh: that the values of New York City are very Jewish because they value excellence that the sad thing about theatre, let us say in New York City since are 110 things to watch a night.
00:27:29.550 --> 00:27:34.320
Tovah Feldshuh: Is that if it's lovely it don't last if it ain't in a in New York it's enough.
00:27:34.770 --> 00:27:46.980
Tovah Feldshuh: that's the thing you have to distinguish yourself, you can't just be excellent, you have to be original and what does that mean, so I love the competitive spirit of cultural events vying for one another.
00:27:47.400 --> 00:27:57.030
Tovah Feldshuh: And I love to participate as a new yorker and in its riches I also happen to vote for the Oscars so it's very exciting moncada did not exist.
00:27:57.390 --> 00:28:07.200
Tovah Feldshuh: Going with all the voters to this screaming and bad and meeting all the stars now everything is virtual but eventually the world will right itself it's wouldn't Bader Ginsburg says.
00:28:07.500 --> 00:28:15.630
Tovah Feldshuh: it's not the bald eagle that's a symbol of America judicially it's the pendulum eventually the pendulum hopefully right attendance.
00:28:16.530 --> 00:28:25.620
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And look what is happening in New York with me, that only could have happened in New York, because new Yorkers accept.
00:28:25.710 --> 00:28:34.680
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: excellence and that accent of mine is going with me, not only that is something, thank you for the Jewish week.
00:28:35.370 --> 00:28:43.980
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And the people in Holland just sent five and that tool, it helps to for trial black where i'm on the board.
00:28:44.730 --> 00:28:56.130
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And there will be planted there are short and vibrant, like me, and I can look at four tires for my window, I see the hustle.
00:28:56.670 --> 00:29:21.810
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And the SEC that they built is wonderful, you see the George Washington bridge and you actually see cast going on the subway amazing so all of you, when that happens in the spring, at for trying flat tova and I will be there two laps short and live like tova me.
00:29:22.920 --> 00:29:25.650
Tovah Feldshuh: You know it all should be noted i've been with with a lot.
00:29:26.760 --> 00:29:33.780
Tovah Feldshuh: At 93 and a half, and it should only continue to want to give it any came to her no Okay, no Walker nothing.
00:29:34.260 --> 00:29:47.910
Tovah Feldshuh: that's that's unbelievable that should be a great athlete and years in the swimming pool years on this new scope i'm already in PG and I could be her daughter, making sure that I balance, you know they make you stand on one foot in the making close your eyes.
00:29:49.530 --> 00:29:50.160
Tovah Feldshuh: and meet.
00:29:51.300 --> 00:29:51.690
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: My.
00:29:52.110 --> 00:30:04.080
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Last night, not only my daughter son in law IV my grandson with his wife i'm at my son Leo have was not there because she's studying for.
00:30:04.680 --> 00:30:29.190
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Law degree at New York university law school my son Joel professor at university of Ottawa came my daughter in law Baba will face it counted in Ottawa make hand on me has a boyfriend Isaac my grandson been with some friends everybody loved tova last night.
00:30:31.140 --> 00:30:33.720
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I don't love her more than I love me.
00:30:34.140 --> 00:30:35.010
Tovah Feldshuh: know they don't.
00:30:35.640 --> 00:30:37.260
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Find out tonight good to know.
00:30:37.770 --> 00:30:39.510
Tovah Feldshuh: i'm your ECHO i'm Greg go.
00:30:39.930 --> 00:30:40.770
Tovah Feldshuh: Ahead Julia.
00:30:41.220 --> 00:30:52.140
Julia Gergely: So I think i'm going to move into question question and answer portion so again for the audience, if you have a question just type it in the Q amp a box and i'll try and get to your question.
00:30:52.710 --> 00:31:08.490
Julia Gergely: In the time we have this question is for tova from one of our audience Members how did you approach playing such a well known person now you also know so well did it differ from your usual approach that you take to either playing a fictional character or someone you haven't met before.
00:31:09.390 --> 00:31:19.920
Tovah Feldshuh: Well, playing it and historic character versus a fictional character is very different, because the research is very different what's great about the historic character, whether it's building a year.
00:31:20.340 --> 00:31:34.500
Tovah Feldshuh: Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was alive and my spin on it as well, or with West time or lose that friend and vibrant and full full House I was with the Supreme Court justice and she was already quietly sick and fighting for life.
00:31:36.270 --> 00:31:47.520
Tovah Feldshuh: The the approach for any historic character is the same, you have to dig and excavate the details of the person, so they were accurate excellent.
00:31:48.240 --> 00:31:56.430
Tovah Feldshuh: effortless effortless is the key, then you have to go below the traits to find out what's the universal about the character.
00:31:57.060 --> 00:32:01.860
Tovah Feldshuh: What is the universal about tackling the hack that it's not just this accent you say.
00:32:02.250 --> 00:32:12.990
Tovah Feldshuh: it's many, many other things, it has to do with her Yankee attitude direct spine the way she would wear platform heels in front of louie be mayor to get what you wanted to she could look down on them.
00:32:13.290 --> 00:32:23.970
Tovah Feldshuh: And what does that mean was a woman's right, you know what i've played a lot of women who felt it was their right to have a big T could and to have a piece of this.
00:32:24.420 --> 00:32:37.950
Tovah Feldshuh: planet that they can be put their mark on and contribute to fold the never expected to be Prime Minister, when she came to the prime minister's residents, she said, why do I need this for two and a midwestern look that.
00:32:40.170 --> 00:32:40.530
Tovah Feldshuh: anyway.
00:32:41.700 --> 00:32:51.750
Tovah Feldshuh: Ruth Bader Ginsburg looked me, but she had a brain that was her phallus if you will she had a brain that was so brilliant and it was so green and heavy that she she led with.
00:32:52.440 --> 00:33:05.430
Tovah Feldshuh: her head wounds and the honorable Ruth stands up pinstripe she's like my PT I used to have lower back pain probably from hunching over nomar nomar and that's from.
00:33:05.820 --> 00:33:08.070
Tovah Feldshuh: From with Western that's for personal gifts me.
00:33:08.370 --> 00:33:22.260
Tovah Feldshuh: But what about Ruth is universal that's what has to be asked, because otherwise, safety and Shlomo and Marie christiansen in the audience won't be running their team, and they need to run their story, they need to have recognition.
00:33:22.680 --> 00:33:31.890
Tovah Feldshuh: of certain parts of Ruth in their own human tape to be engaged and to have a stake in it that's my job.
00:33:33.870 --> 00:33:42.660
Tovah Feldshuh: And, and also Ruth when i'm with her she'll come out with some lines that are so astonishing they go right in the play and that is by the grace of mark St Germain.
00:33:42.870 --> 00:33:52.530
Tovah Feldshuh: Not every playwright, says that playwrights can say to you i'm not going to change the word go, take a hike this guy is so decent and so willing to update the piece.
00:33:52.890 --> 00:33:59.670
Tovah Feldshuh: To my great benefit and change the beginning to change the enemy make big changes, but with World War, the line.
00:34:00.030 --> 00:34:13.890
Tovah Feldshuh: My parents, they gave me life twice, once when they gave them to me, and once when they sent me to safety in Switzerland headline wasn't in another line I haven't written it yet, but another one that needs to be in a place is.
00:34:15.000 --> 00:34:23.880
Tovah Feldshuh: I never caught one high school diploma I never cut my back to what I got my masters and then I got my dog for figure something.
00:34:24.660 --> 00:34:26.700
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: out and a few other doctors.
00:34:30.510 --> 00:34:45.840
Tovah Feldshuh: Absolutely some lovely anyway, so my approach is very diligent it's an honor when I play I just played Anthony Hopkins one Sir Anthony Hopkins and halfway this our daughter, it was a fictional character and I made it up as Stella.
00:34:46.260 --> 00:34:57.180
Tovah Feldshuh: Adler would say, if you don't have it in your lexicon make it up, I just so that's what I do Daniel melnick I in law and order I based on my father Sydney who's a litigator.
00:34:58.920 --> 00:35:12.240
Tovah Feldshuh: And when there isn't a coincidence, you want to find coincidence between you and the character move skis ice Ruth swims eyes were both athletic she's from Germany i'm from Australia both ashkenazi.
00:35:12.630 --> 00:35:27.570
Tovah Feldshuh: she's orthodox my father was from the Lord for that, so my mother was not, but then I choose to be with my father when she's with her father walking to synagogue with the extra points in the pocket so it's called substitution and.
00:35:28.620 --> 00:35:32.400
Tovah Feldshuh: You know if you should only live to 120 I don't know if.
00:35:32.910 --> 00:35:47.220
Tovah Feldshuh: What would happen to me if Andy suffered with Fred suffered and at such a young age, so many diet, you gave him a birthday party February 8 and he was 17 years old and new diet book third or am I, making this up see 70 years old in 1969.
00:35:48.480 --> 00:35:50.880
Tovah Feldshuh: In 1997 1997.
00:35:51.720 --> 00:35:52.020
00:35:53.220 --> 00:35:53.670
Tovah Feldshuh: So.
00:35:55.140 --> 00:35:55.920
Tovah Feldshuh: The other thing that.
00:35:56.070 --> 00:36:08.040
Tovah Feldshuh: That Ruth has really taught me which I have used in my life because i've never experienced that spillage from a character onto my life, you know what am I going to do to take me on a healthy into my life i've ever mess.
00:36:09.570 --> 00:36:18.630
Tovah Feldshuh: So with Ruth she sees the glass half full, not not just by this is the way she is and polycom it's by choice.
00:36:19.290 --> 00:36:22.620
Tovah Feldshuh: it's by choice I say last night, we are so grateful to have.
00:36:23.070 --> 00:36:38.130
Tovah Feldshuh: An opening but a big opening night a beautiful reception in the lobby and the whole party respect on the second floor with prosecco and wine and that scrapped and slept at 630 and a half hour and I just said, be grateful, be grateful grateful.
00:36:38.160 --> 00:36:48.120
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: When you have to tell them that track Liga I told him whatever you decide is fine with me and everybody got cake, to take home.
00:36:49.650 --> 00:36:51.270
Tovah Feldshuh: and listen I got sandwiches.
00:36:54.420 --> 00:36:54.870
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: sandwiches.
00:36:55.980 --> 00:36:57.720
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: You and I go to always.
00:36:59.580 --> 00:37:01.140
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Think Oh, is this yeah.
00:37:01.200 --> 00:37:01.410
00:37:02.640 --> 00:37:05.790
Tovah Feldshuh: Two and a half years, did you get your soul, they took us on we'll.
00:37:07.320 --> 00:37:07.740
Tovah Feldshuh: Go ahead.
00:37:09.270 --> 00:37:24.060
Julia Gergely: Dr Ruth this question is also from the audience for you and seeing your life and your career in this play what advice, do you have for future generations of Jewish women Jewish new Yorkers for their lives or for making the most out of their.
00:37:24.060 --> 00:37:34.110
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: careers okay number one to stand up to be counted, not to concentrate on the misery everybody has some problems.
00:37:34.530 --> 00:37:51.000
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Not to constantly concentrate on how difficult our lives are right now, but to have that optimism let's make the best of it, this will be over, be careful i'm not saying take chances.
00:37:51.510 --> 00:38:06.660
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: But to keep that hope and to keep the gratitude for being alive and being able, like toba pheasant the play for tikkun olam Jewish week tikkun olam.
00:38:07.170 --> 00:38:28.050
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: means to repair the world, I did not know that i'm doing the paving the road by teaching people to have good sex but that's what i'm doing and that's my advice and all of you today's Friday all of you who have a partner tonight to engage in good sex.
00:38:30.210 --> 00:38:34.530
Julia Gergely: and Dr Ruth are you working on anything new or anything exciting right now.
00:38:34.770 --> 00:38:45.390
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Yes, i'm constantly working, but first of all, right now, I have to get over to off broadway that's number one number two the book heavenly sex.
00:38:46.680 --> 00:39:12.540
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Right now, thank you heavenly sex and that is coming out its out by New York universe depressed it's now a classic and it's coming out in German translator and published by the museum by the Jewish museum and yeah and you have to survive Vienna in Austria.
00:39:12.930 --> 00:39:23.760
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: yeah and and that's happening right now soon and who knows what else I have all kind of project in my little head coming up.
00:39:25.200 --> 00:39:27.210
Julia Gergely: to buy do you have anything else in the works.
00:39:27.510 --> 00:39:37.980
Tovah Feldshuh: Yes, we're running a TV series of louisville it has been optioned by a Hollywood production company called out each step by Courtney has the most marvelous human being and.
00:39:38.400 --> 00:39:50.700
Tovah Feldshuh: we're working on that, but I to my immediate concern is to get this play off broadway I also be doing six concerts for me march 5 through 11 in.
00:39:51.300 --> 00:40:04.590
Tovah Feldshuh: in Florida at tova is the owner and that's that's very exciting it's good to be hired for concerts and i'll be a speaker for the uja in Dayton Ohio think may 15 something like that so.
00:40:04.710 --> 00:40:04.890
00:40:06.270 --> 00:40:07.650
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: And i've watched your zoom.
00:40:08.640 --> 00:40:08.910
00:40:09.990 --> 00:40:15.870
Tovah Feldshuh: Thank you very, very much we have we have families Yun shabbat we are on our 88.
00:40:16.470 --> 00:40:23.880
Tovah Feldshuh: or 88 soon shabbat tonight at 630 with the whole family gathers on zoom I send out 118.
00:40:24.180 --> 00:40:39.840
Tovah Feldshuh: emails and let's see we have 20 to 30 screens every Friday night to save blessings catch up and it's wonderful it's a way I can make sure to see my children my brother upset and pointing out it's it's a wonderful thing, and I put it all together myself, then I produce.
00:40:40.290 --> 00:40:52.470
Julia Gergely: My level i'm Dr Ruth I think this is going to be our last question, an audience Member wants to know how your philosophy of thing the glass half full coincides with what's happening with depend on.
00:40:54.720 --> 00:40:56.520
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: What What about the pandemic.
00:40:56.970 --> 00:41:06.330
Julia Gergely: How your philosophy of always seeing the glass half full, and always working as hard as you can coincides with what's happening, the last two years.
00:41:06.630 --> 00:41:12.210
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Oh, I will type into this is that pandemic is valid Sam that we have to acknowledge it.
00:41:13.350 --> 00:41:29.190
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Having sad, on the other hand, look what happens central synagogue I listened to them every Friday night Even so, I belong to two other congregations, but they are on zoom so that's what I do.
00:41:29.670 --> 00:41:46.110
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I listen i'm grateful of anybody who uses zoom this fantastic way of us being able to communicate and tova tell the last word, how can they get you on what.
00:41:47.520 --> 00:41:55.140
Tovah Feldshuh: They should go on tova felt you calm my website and it says contact us, it will go right to my gmail and I will.
00:41:55.740 --> 00:42:09.510
Tovah Feldshuh: and talk to me about investing obviously My idea is not only that you should invest, but I should get you your money back gold this balcony capitalized for one at $1.3 million and it made $7 million so right, I mean.
00:42:10.200 --> 00:42:11.040
Tovah Feldshuh: i'm a good bet.
00:42:11.190 --> 00:42:12.210
Tovah Feldshuh: i'm a good business bed.
00:42:13.680 --> 00:42:14.220
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: To potty.
00:42:16.260 --> 00:42:17.610
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: mouth to watch it.
00:42:17.970 --> 00:42:23.580
Tovah Feldshuh: I will, I would like to start an umbrella, we probably need forum braless of $250,000.
00:42:23.850 --> 00:42:38.130
Tovah Feldshuh: i'd like to start one under my name with our investors and just like with gold is balcony some people gave 5000 some 10 end of the Community, that we just for packages, we need those and then a few philanthropists and we can go, we can go.
00:42:38.220 --> 00:42:38.670
Tovah Feldshuh: And we have to.
00:42:39.540 --> 00:42:47.310
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: I have a question for toga toga the set is fabulous can they said go with you to have our way.
00:42:47.670 --> 00:43:01.170
Tovah Feldshuh: that's the whole point the set is ready to go the actor, the costume all the elements are done we just have to put it in a space that is that why that I need am not replacing the show and some kind of little.
00:43:01.560 --> 00:43:18.630
Tovah Feldshuh: Little basement thing, and the other thing is, we need a, we need a off broadway theater without stairs I don't want my patrons some of them are older, to have to go up the stairs to see me a one entrance you can enter the theater with the stairs be in the lobby and go like.
00:43:18.750 --> 00:43:29.460
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Like him, was a very interesting yeah very interesting because these days when I go someplace I also ask it's an elevator.
00:43:30.810 --> 00:43:34.170
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: So very interesting practical advice.
00:43:34.380 --> 00:43:37.860
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: Right hallelujah everybody, we are going to.
00:43:39.510 --> 00:43:42.660
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: want to see everybody say hallelujah.
00:43:43.380 --> 00:43:44.490
00:43:46.740 --> 00:43:56.310
Julia Gergely: Okay, I believe that's all the time we have today, I want to thank you both for your time here and to our audience members for joining us today to hear from these celebrated women.
00:43:56.820 --> 00:44:05.040
Julia Gergely: I also want to thank the Museum of Jewish heritage for partnering with the New York Jewish week on this event, and we look forward to seeing you next time.
00:44:05.970 --> 00:44:07.680
Ari Goldstein: Have a good one, just going to jump into.
00:44:08.100 --> 00:44:15.720
Ari Goldstein: Thanks and say that a recording of today's conversation will be available later on the museum YouTube channel and in your in boxes and you can get tickets.
00:44:15.960 --> 00:44:21.510
Ari Goldstein: To see toba falsehood and becoming Dr Ruth at the link in the zoom chat Thank you so much, everyone.
00:44:21.780 --> 00:44:23.850
Tovah Feldshuh: Thank you are a good day.
00:44:24.240 --> 00:44:24.990
Tovah Feldshuh: Actually.
00:44:25.440 --> 00:44:26.430
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: So much Shalom.
00:44:26.580 --> 00:44:27.480
Tovah Feldshuh: shabbat Shalom.
00:44:28.290 --> 00:44:29.280
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: shabbat Shalom.
00:44:29.700 --> 00:44:32.250
Tovah Feldshuh: shabbat Shalom everyone Shalom.
Learn More About the Kindertransport
As a young girl, Dr. Ruth was saved by the Kindertransport, a rescue network that helped thousands of Jewish refugee children flee Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940. Most children saved by the Kindertransport were brought to the United Kingdom, although Dr. Ruth ended up in Switzerland. Learn more about the Kindertransport rescue network here.
Explore the Jewish History of Washington Heights
For more than 50 years, Dr. Ruth has called Washington Heights home. When she first settled in the northern Manhattan neighborhood, she was one of thousands of German and Austrian Jews who gave the neighborhood its nickname, “Frankfurt on the Hudson.” Explore the Jewish history of Dr. Ruth’s neighborhood in this virtual exhibit from the Leo Baeck Institute.
More From Dr. Ruth and Tovah Feldshuh
Dr. Ruth has published more than 40 books about love, sex, marriage, and her own life story—including books for children about the Holocaust. Tovah Feldshuh recently published her own memoir Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played. Order their books from the Pickman Museum Shop.