Jewish Trivia: The Rockettes


Mark Zimmerman, Special For The Jewish Light

The number of COVID cases has increased dramatically across the country. Universities such as Cornell, Georgetown, and Princeton, among others, have gone back to virtual-only classes and exams. The NFL postponed three of this weekend’s games. And in New York City, which saw the positivity rate double over just three days last week, many Broadway shows have canceled performances. In addition, the Radio City Rockettes announced that they have canceled the remainder of their Christmas Spectacular season, which had been scheduled to run through January 2. Which of the following is part of the Jewish history of the Rockettes?

A. One former Jewish member of the troupe, Alyssa Epstein, went on to become a Reform rabbi. Every year since she has returned for the Rockettes organization’s holiday party where she has led the group in a Chanukkah candle lighting.

B. The Rockettes have performed at many events besides the Christmas Spectacular, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Radio City Easter Pageant, and President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball. The group has also been hired to perform at private events including Jared Kushner’s bar mitzvah at the Plaza Hotel in 1994.

C. Christine Frances Masave Horii, a Protestant Japanese-American, who was a Rockette in the 1990’s, later converted to Judaism and moved to Israel, where she now only dances in front of all-female audiences.

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D. The Rockettes were conceived of and created by Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, who was inspired by the group dancing of the hora which he saw and participated in at many bar mitzvahs and weddings.

E. The Jewish co-producer and choreographer of the Rockettes, Leon Leonidoff, also produced a Kol Nidre spectacular that performed at Radio City Music Hall.