Congregation B'nai Israel

2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604 | (203) 336-1858 | |

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Al Jolson: From Immigrant to American Idol

January 12, 2019 - 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Al Jolson:  From Immigrant to American Idol

Jolson scholar, Jon Sonneborn, shares the real story of his rise from immigrant to highest paid performer in America.

How did an eight-year old immigrant boy from Russia rise to become the highest paid performer in America and one of the most famous celebrities in the world?

From 1915-1930, Jewish comedian and singer, Al Jolson was the undisputed king of show business. Humorist and theater critic Robert Benchley described a Jolson performance as something supernatural, writing in a review that when Jolson enters the stage it’s as if an electric current’s been run along the wires under your seat. 

Separating the facts from the legend, film historian, Jon Sonneborn, will share the real Jolson story, with special emphasis on Jolson’s Judaism, his strong ties and identify with the black community, and the controversies over his use of blackface.

This event is open to the community.

This program is a part of Common Threads, a community-wide series exploring our diverse ancestry and heritage in our Upper Fairfield County Jewish Community.  Congregation B’nai Israel is proud to join the Federation for Jewish  Philanthropy and 23 area congregations and agencies. For a list of programs, visit:

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