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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Naomi Newman


Naomi Newman (1930- ), playwright, director, and actor, is also one of the founding members of San Francisco's A Traveling Jewish Theater. Her parents introduced her to theater by taking her to the Yiddish playhouse, where her passion for theater was first awakened. She was with ATJT for twenty-five years, as co-artistic director, writer, and performer.

In her one-woman shows such as Snake Talk: Urgent Messages from the MotherRose, and Model Apartment, she uses wit and charm to portray how she, as a Jewish woman, meets life’s many challenges. In addition to theater, Newman has acted for TV shows, including Star TrekBen CaseyWild Wild West, and Korg: Seventy Thousand B.C.

Naomi Newman leads a passionate life filled with curiosity, love, dedication and the willingness to change. She describes it this way:

"Sometimes I think life is rather like a piece of strudel—you take one experience and put it on top of another, until finally together they become one tasty thing. Looked at separately, each layer might not seem like very much, but each layer requires the ones that came before and the ones that come after to accomplish the full flavor. There have been many changes in my life: loss, grief and disappointment are not strangers to me. But they are also not enemies. I’ve learned how they open doors to new and unexpected possibilities."

Audio Clip and Transcript

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