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From the Washington Post, on a Washington Jewish theater house that had an exhibit at J Street’s conference last year:

Bowing to objections from Elie Wiesel, the author, human rights activist and Holocaust survivor, Theater J has canceled its first production of the coming season — a play in which Wiesel is a character.

"Imagining Madoff" by Deb Margolin was to be a world premiere for the Washington troupe, running from Aug. 28 to Oct. 3, with actor Rick Foucheux portraying convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff.

In the fictional play, Madoff in his prison cell recalls a long-ago, all-night discussion with Wiesel in the author’s study….

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had all its assets, $15.2 million, invested with Madoff and lost them when the Ponzi scheme unraveled. In addition, Wiesel personally lost several million dollars to Madoff.

Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth said the Wiesel Foundation was uncomfortable with having its founder’s name used in the play, but early on Wiesel had not objected. "It wasn’t until Wiesel read the play and found it to be exactly as Deb purported, a work of fiction . . . [that] Wiesel didn’t consent to it," Roth says.

[Theater artistic director Ari] Roth offered to have Margolin revise the play, replacing Wiesel with a fictional character. She began to work on it, he says, but finally rejected the idea. Says Margolin, "Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel . . . I could do all those things. And I asked my agent to withdraw the play."

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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