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by Benjamin Rosenblatt

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


Zelig’s purse was considerably thinned. He drew from it with palsied fingers for all burial expenses, looking about him in a dazed way. Mechanically he performed the Hebrew rites for the dead, which his neighbors taught him. He took a knife and made a deep gash in his shabby coat; then he removed his shoes, seated himself on the floor, and bowed his poor old head, tearless, benumbed.

The shop stared when the old man appeared after the prescribed three days’ absence. Even the Pole dared not come near him. A film seemed to coat his glaring eye; deep wrinkles contracted his features, and his muscular frame appeared to shrink even as one looked. From that day on, he began to starve himself more than ever. The passion for sailing back to Russia, “to die at home at last,” lost but little of its original intensity. Yet there was something now which by a feeble thread bound him to the New World.


An old immigrant struggles with the final days of his life, and what he’s made of it. Grim and sad. Might make an interesting one-act. (Story has nothing to do with Woody Allen’s movie.)


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