Off-Broadway Theatre Review: A JEW GROWS IN BROOKLYN (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Theater)

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by Tony Frankel on March 2, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-New York,Tours


Various Jewish delis have a specialty known as mish mosh soup: it’s chicken soup with rice, noodles, Matzo Ball, kreplach, and kasha. Jake Ehrenreich’s solo outing A Jew Grows in Brooklyn is a mish mosh: stand-up comedy, instrumentals, audience participation, solo biographical show and more; individually, the ingredients may not be so exciting, but put them together in a chicken soup (for the soul), and the evening becomes not just a solid entertainment, but a fascinating look into the Holocaust and the ways that American Jews dealt with the loss of family. By tying together the horrors of his own family (émigrés from Nazi Germany) with the need for Jews to lose themselves in the outrageous Borsht Belt humor of the Catskills, Ehrenreich avoids overt sentimentality and history lessons. Instead, he offers some astounding insights regarding Jewish culture in post-war Brooklyn. Ehrenreich eschews theatricality for what feels like a sit-down dinner with one of your relatives’ nice Jewish boys. After he sings a Yiddish lullaby, he performs a medley of the rock tunes from his youth, blares on a trumpet and trombone, ending with a terrific turn on the drums. Oy, what mother wouldn’t be proud! He’s even adept at recreating some very funny Catskill comedy routines. Although the show is, at turns, sweet, interesting, and entertaining, this is an evening for the home team – the Jews who would benefit from a huge dose of nostalgia and validation. The jury is out as to how non-Jews will react to A Jew Grows in Brooklyn – I’m guessing that, for the few who will attend the show (c’mon, it’s got Jew in the title!), it will be a polite shoulder shrug.


tonyfrankel @

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn
originally reviewed in Los Angeles
now Playing OFF-BROADWAY at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Theater
open run (hiatus August 12-October 11, 2012)
for tickets and dates, visit  or call (866) 811-4111

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

carole pearlman June 17, 2012 at 6:18 am

I am the Program VP for Tzipora Long Beach Chapter of Hadassah. Is it possible to have Jake come and talk at one of our meetings? We are located in Long Beach, NY. Our members would be ecstatic.


Tony Frankel June 17, 2012 at 11:21 am


Go to and contact them directly.


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