Monday, December 12, 2005

Max Weintraub: December Synchronicity

I made a conscious effort to boost myself out the doldrums by reconnecting with the lively odd couple of Max Weintraub and Miguel Figueroa. Miguel, one of the best, strongest, and most unconventional teachers who I have ever seen, finally succumbed to Calkinitis and retired in October. Max, a youthful 84 year old retiree, had been volunteering his time and money in Max's classroom for almost the last 10 years. An article in the NYTimes was written about the wonderful work they have done together by Anemona Hartocollis. There have also been articles written about Max's latest venture as a co-owner of Pont Street Stables. Several years ago Max took Miguel, myself and my father out to the Broadway show "Swing." Through Max's theater connections we had front row seats. During the evening Max and my father relived old LES memories. Max grew up on Monroe Steet and struggled as a kid when his father died early in his life (as did my father's father). Max's mother supported the family selling goods from a horse drawn pushcart. Anyway, Miguel was a no-show for our lunch at Noah's Ark Deli on Grand Street. His own father is very ill. During lunch, In typical Max fashion, he charmed and befriended the waitress, a young San Antonian Jewish girl who was converting to Orthodoxy and living in Crown Heights. Arrangements were made to treat her and some friends to a future showing of Fiddler. Synchronicity? Max's daughter, Aviva is an expert in Jewish films. She is a "big macha" curator at The Jewish Museum. She has worked together with Suzanne Wasserman of the Gotham Center on several projects. Sometimes synchronicity is not so great. Here's the audio of some of our conversation.I later downloaded several articles about Max. Here's one and here's one about Pont Stret Stables Finally here's a portion of a January 2005 interview with Aviva Weintraub concerning the then upcoming Jewish Film Festival. There will be a 2006 version as well.

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