For Loose Woman

“A fascinating story, beautifully and eloquently written, with great humour.” CURTIS BARLOW, Deputy Secretary to the Governor General of Canada

“Some of the most interesting writing on L’Arche I have ever read. Very moving in that it rings so true.” ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LYNN BLIN, former longtime L’Arche assistant

“A wonderful book deftly describing complex people and complicated relationships with a light touch.” PROFESSOR K. BELICKI, Brock University

“A very moving story, well worth telling.” JUDY MCFARLANE, Author, Writing With Grace, A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome

For Finding the Jewish Shakespeare

“Beth Kaplan makes [an] invaluable contribution with her full-length biography of Gordin, who happened to have been her great-grandfather. Her book admirably combines scholarly research, critical analysis, loving tribute and personal memoir.” MATT NESVISKY, Jerusalem Report

“A remarkably thorough and insightful biography. Finding the Jewish Shakespeare easily demonstrates that [Gordin] has found the biographer he deserves, and shall certainly find no better.” BILL GLADSTONE, Canadian Jewish News

“It reads most smoothly and tells a fascinating story.” RUTH WISSE, Yiddish scholar and author, Harvard University

“A terrific book, and not in the slightest degree a niche book. It’s Yiddish history, Jewish history, theatre history, socialist history, US immigrant history and more, as well as a great biography. And it is SO well written.” ELEANOR DUCKWORTH, Professor of Education, Harvard University

“Beth Kaplan spent a good part of her lifetime trying to assemble and understand the life of her illustrious and controversial great-grandfather. It’s good to be able to report that she succeeded in doing so, and that it was well worth the wait. Her evocation of this unique era of theatre, culture and debate is sensational.” GERRY CAPLAN, author, Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide 

“What a great history!  A terrific read.” ROBIN PHILLIPS, former Artistic Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

“Beth is a wonderful storyteller. What a treat it’s going to be for academics to come across something so readable.” DR. LYNN BLIN, Professor of Linguistics and Translation, University of Montpellier

“Written by actress, writer, and teacher Beth Kaplan, Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin is the biography of her great-grandfather, playwright extraordinaire Jacob Gordin. Chapters recount Gordin’s emigration from Russia to America, the Golden Age and the colorful characters of Yiddish theater from 1891 to 1910, the birth of Gordin’s outstanding masterworks such as “Mirele Efros” and “The Jewish King Lear”, and much more. An especial treat for theater history buffs, Finding the Jewish Shakespeare is rich with nuanced detail. A bibliography, index, and partial list of Gordin’s plays with original titles round out this enduring tribute to a gifted playwright.” Midwest Book Review

Dear Beth,
Thank you for sending me your book. I look forward to reading it, but be patient, as I am leaving town in a short time, and, having just opened a new show, I have much catching up to do before I go. So, you’ll be first on my agenda when I get to France.
Best, sincerely,
Hal Prince

Amazon reviews for Finding the Jewish Shakespeare

“In Yiddish we say ‘yeder eyner trogt zayn eygen pekl…” – everyone carries personal baggage.  Yankev Gordin was Kaplan’s baggage and instead of running away from it, she took it out of the closet and revealed the man who not only shaped her family’s dynamics but the dynamics of a robust, fractious Yiddish culture. It was and is a fascinating story. I thank her for adding it to the colour of life – for a Jewish community that wants to forget its Yiddish past, and for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of American stage culture and the assimilation of the immigrant streams into the development of the American stage tradition.”
Gerry Kane, Yiddish scholar.

“Beautifully written and so interesting. Aside from all I learned about Jacob Gordin, it brought the historical context of Tsarist Russia, the Jewish immigrant experience in New York and the Jewish artistic and intellectual life of Europe and the United States to vivid life. I was blown away by the amount of research and how meticulously it must have been done. Above all, though, it was the quality of the writing, which I found superb, that kept me reading.”
Tamara Moscoe, writer

“Your talk on Jacob Gordin was extremely interesting. Your discussion of Abraham Cahan has prompted me to do some further research into this man who wielded such a tremendous influence on the Jewish world of yesteryear.”
Roslyn Wollock, Adult Program Coordinator, Soloway Jewish Community Centre, Ottawa

“Thank you for writing such a marvelous book.”
Richard Goldbloom, Chancellor, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

“It was a most enjoyable and thoroughly captivating read. I love show biz bios and I also love history and filling in the many
gaps in my knowledge … beautifully written and beautifully edited.”
Bruce Kellett, Music Director, Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver

“Gordin is an extraordinary person, but your research in unearthing him and tracing his legacy from Russia to the present
day is even more extraordinary.  Your taking up this legacy and giving it to us gives Gordin a whole new life.”
Laurel Speer, poet, Tucson, Arizona

“Thanks for taking me down memory lane. You have a Jewish neshumah (soul). You really captured the essence of those times and people. I have been homebound and I found the book to be healing. So thank you very much for your effort and insight.”
Ethel Sparaga, Toronto