Large Print Edition of Tennessee Williams on the Soviet Stage is at Amazon

In her Tennessee Williams on the Soviet Stage book, Irene Shaland explores the history and problems involved in staging Tennessee Williams’s works in the Soviet theater. This book has five chapters and discusses 1970s – early 1980s Russian productions of five plays, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Orpheus Descending, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Kingdom of Earth, in several Moscow, St. Petersburg (Leningrad), and provincial theaters.

This production-based study serves as a useful resource to theater historians interested in intercultural interpretations of the great American playwright.

About the Author

Irene Shaland is an internationally published art and travel writer, educator, and lecturer. “Tennessee Williams on the Soviet Stage” was her first publication in the United States. Her second book, “American Theater and Drama Research,” was a monograph on the methodology of research in American Theater and Drama. Irene is a prolific journalist, and her numerous articles on theater, art, travel, and history are regularly published in U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Kenya. She is currently working on her third book, “In Search of a Jewish Story around the World.”

Irene holds a B.A. in Theater Journalism and Art History from St. Petersburg University, Russia; a Master’s Degree in English from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; and a Master’s Degree in Information Science from Kent State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Irene and her family reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

Link to book:

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Free Lecture at New City Library, NY: Jews in Myanmar and Cambodia

Presented by Irene Shaland

Sunday October 21st 2018  at 2:00 PM

New City Library: 220 N. Main Street, New City, New York
Advance registration required. Call 845.634.4997 to register.

This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.
Rudyard Kipling, “Letters from the East,” 1899.

 The road to Myanmaris definitely less-travelled, even for a seasoned globe-trotter. But those who do venture along it are wooed by the country’s sparkling beauty and the sincere friendliness of its people. The Myanmar’s temple art is matchless in its elegance. The deepest spirituality of its ancient form of Buddhism seamlessly blends with the pagan spirits of the Burmese universe. It is hard to imagine a religious Jew with his family arriving in this, “unlike any other” land. But they did, and many built significant fortunes, while playing an important role in turning British Burma, especially Rangoon, into one of the most prosperous regions in Southeast Asia.  They were the Baghdadi, a special breed of the Jewish tribe. And so, the Burmese Jewish narrative is, first and foremost, the Baghdadi story.

Travelwith Irene Shalandto the ancient land of rice fields and countless golden Buddhas and pagodas to discover the little-known narrative of the once thriving Jewish community of Burma that was all but decimated during World War II.

Understand whythis small group of immigrants throughout their history in Asia became so successful commercially and powerful politically only to disappear to almost oblivion after the 1940s and 1960s.

Learn aboutthe Jewish renaissance in this country today and the brave new world of the Myanmar Jewry.

In Cambodia, we will visit a small synagogue across the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and discover what the Rabbi’s usual day looks like in the country of Angkor Wat.

Address: New City Library, 220 N. Main Street, New City, New York

Posted in Asia, General, History, Holocaust, Jewish Story, Lecture, Religion, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Requirements for Travelers to Brazil, Continued

If you missed Part one of this post click here Part One

When you make an appointment at your medical system’s Travel Clinic before your trip to Brazil, they always ask you when and what country are you going.

Before you come, they prepare the packet for you with all the info and they look for guidelines of what is required. The doctor looks for recommendations issued by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention: 

(Click this link to see for yourself)

It is highly advisable to go, if possible, to a facility that uses the same system where your doctors are and where your records stored. Then, the system, such as for example EPIC, will show the information that you might not remember. Travel Clinics “live” within Infectious Diseases Departments. So, if you do not see travel clinic listed as a separate entity, call Infectious Diseases.

However, you are right: it is good to be prepared. They might not know that you are not up-to-date on Tetanus for example but you do need it.

First priority

  1. Tetanus
  2. Yellow fever
  3. Hepatitis A
  4. Prescriptions for Malarone (if you are going to the jungle area) and for a broad action antibiotic.

Suggested Reading

Posted in America, General, Nature, South America, Travel Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Requirements for Travelers to Brazil

Hello my fellow-travelers,

If Brazil is in your travel plans, you might find this information helpful.  Alex and I are going to Brazil in November of this year, so we decided to get our medical preparations out of the way and went to a local Travel Clinic.

We are up-to-date with all requirements: no shots, since all are up-to-date; but we needed two prescriptions for malaria pills (Malarone) and broad action antibiotics. The last one I always take with me no matter where we are going. It is based on Cipro and is a perfect help with anything, be that UTI or diarrhea.

The cost of the visit itself was $53.00 per person. Antibiotic is $6.05;   Malarone, 24 pills (start on the 19th, continue while in the jungle area and a week after your return from the Amazon) – is  $109.21.

Suggestion: go to the discounted pharmacy like Walmart or something. CVS is almost 25-30% more expensive.

If you do not have Tetanus – you need to do that anyway, no matter where you are going or even not going.

You absolutely need Yellow Fever shots (required and lasts life-time) and – most probably – Typhoid vaccine capsules (advisable and lasts 5 years).

IMPORTANT: Since Yellow Fever shots are in limited availability, do not delay your Travel Clinic visit. 

You might not be allowed to enter the country without their certificate.

More to follow next week,

Suggested Reading


Posted in America, General, South America, Travel Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Free Lecture: “Travels in Jewish History” at Carnegie Investment Council

Join Irene Shaland, an internationally-published art and travel writer, educator, and lecturer, for a fascinating talk about her travels through Jewish history in Burma, India, China, Cuba, and Cambodia. Seeking Jewish narrative all over the world, Irene with her husband-photographer Alex, has visited close to 70 countries and shared her experiences with audiences and readers in US, Canada, and Europe.

Reservations Required: call 216.367.4114

Address:Carnegie Investment Council – 30300 Chagrin Blvd, Pepper Pike OH

 Download flyer: SEPT_09_05_Lecture

Check out Irene Shaland’s latest book “The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories”

Kindle edition

Paperback edition


Posted in Books, China, Cuba, Europe, General, History, Jewish Story, Lecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Birds for beginners in Southern Africa by Philip Coetzee

Review by Philip Coetzee

If you look for a field guide, this is the wrong book, but if you want to understand more about birds, about their biology, habits and habitat, this is the perfect book.  In a fun way, with random cartoons and loads of colorful illustrations, the life of birds is described, from the size of the eggs, the type of chicks, how they fly, migration and where the birds can be found.

 Amongst other, the book takes a look at the structure of the bird’s beaks and compare this to everyday items, like that of a woodpecker with a hammer and chisel.  Not to mention the illustrations on the various foot designs found amongst birds.  The various nest types, and there are quite a number of different types, and where they are build, is discussed.  The habitats are colorfully illustrated with examples of the most typical species one will find there.

 Handy tips for building a nest box, a small pond in the garden and attracting birds to your garden are given.  And if you are keen on making birding a serious hobby, you will also find handy tips on binoculars, what to wear and how to look like a real Twitcher, Dude or Birder.

 This book is for the whole family, with easy to understand text accompanied by illustrations that makes it easy for young and old to enjoy the wonderful world of Aves, commonly known as BIRDS.

Learn more about the book:


Posted in Africa, Books, General, Safari, Travel Photography, Travel Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travels in Jewish History Lecture in NYC

Center for Jewish History, NYC presents Irene Shaland’s Lecture


Tuesday  May 29 2018   7:00 PM

If you are interested in Jewish history, join Irene Shaland, an internationally-published art and travel writer, educator, and lecturer, for a fascinating talk about her travels through history of Jewish people in Burma, India, China, Cuba, and Cambodia. Seeking Jewish narrative all over the world, Irene with her husband-photographer Alex, has visited close to 70 countries and shared her experiences with audiences and readers in US, Canada, and Europe.

Location: Center for Jewish History, 15 W 16th St, New York, New York 10011

Reservations Required: or call 212.548.4486

Posted in Asia, Cuba, General, History, Holocaust, Jewish Story, Lecture, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Event at Visible Voice Books


      Book Event at Visible Voice Books:   Irene Shaland and her new book 

The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories

   Saturday   May 19th 2018   7:30 PM

 Limited seating.  Advance registrations strongly suggested. Call 216-961-0084 to register.

“For the student of Jewish history … and for the curious traveler in all of us, this book is required reading; a must-have on every bookshelf.” Corinne Brown, Editor-in-Chief, HaLapid Magazine, 2016.

An internationally-published writer, Irene Shaland introduces her latest book The Dao of Being Jewish.  She shares her “Stories Behind the Stories” inviting you to embark on a fascinating journey, both familiar and unknown. While traveling from Europe to Asia and Africa, from Vienna to Delhi and Nairobi, you are immersed into a collective Jewish narrative from all parts of the globe. Whether you hear Irene’s Polish family Holocaust narrative or discover two-millennium old tales of little-known Jewish communities of India and China, who never knew religious persecution – these stories strive to preserve Jewish heritage, identity, memory, and history. Because we are the stories we tell to ourselves, to others, and to the world.

For more on Irene, visit her website:

Visible Voice Books 2258 Professor Avenue, Cleveland OH 44113 Tel. 216-961-0084


Posted in Books, Europe, General, History, Holocaust, Italy, Jewish Story, Lecture, Scandinavia, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lecture at Maltz Museum: Jewish Story through 500 Years of Cuban History

Cost: $12 general; $6 Maltz Museum members. Limited seating. Call 216.593.0575 to register.

The Cuban Jewish story reflects a struggle for survival through assimilation and acculturation.  It is also based on a narrative depicting not a single community but rather a mosaic of several communities that varied greatly in their languages and cultures, and which was built by five distinctly different waves of Crypto-Jewish and Jewish immigrants. The extraordinary characteristic of the Jewish experience in Cuba one finds today is the fundamental sense of community that survived an almost complete dissolution after Castro’s revolution, followed by decades of a totalitarian regime with its poverty, deprivation, and strong anti-Israeli attitudes.

The contemporary Cuban Jewish narrative depicts a fascinating trajectory. First, a descent from vibrancy and prosperity to almost oblivion after the mass exodus of the 1960s and direct efforts to destroy the Jewishness during the years of revolutionary atheism. Then, a recent phenomenon: a sudden ascent to becoming a Celebrity of Tropical Diaspora, turning into, arguably, the most visited and photographed of the world’s Jewish communities.

Take a journey with internationally published art and travel writer Irene Shaland to rediscover this unique island and to learn how Cuba is finding its way back to the future

Maltz Museum 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood Ohio 44122

Posted in Cuba, General, History, Jewish Story, Lecture | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Search of a Jewish Story in China Lecture Presented at MJHNYC

The China Institute and Museum of Jewish Heritage, both of New York, celebrate the Chinese New Year with the Jewish Stories of China

Gallery talk announcement at the Museum of Jewish Heritage New York

Irene Shaland was invited to present her popular lecture “In Search of a Jewish Story in China” on February 15, 2018 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park, New York. This event, on the eve of the Chinese New Year, was co-sponsored by the Museum and the China Institute.

lecture was attended by more than 100 people

Samantha Hirsch, Producer of Public Programming at the Museum and James Heimowitz, President of the China Institute, addressed the audience prior to the lecture. The event was attended by close to 100 people.

As a writer, Shaland remains ever attuned to what she calls the Jewish story, an often “endless chain of persecutions, from century to century, from country to country.” However, in China she uncovered an entirely different chapter in Jewish history, which divides into two stories: the Jews in China and the Jews of China.

Irene talked about the secrets of the Gobi Desert and the Silk Road. She told the story of the most anti-Semitic of Russian Tsars deciding to build the Trans-Siberian Railroad and how it transformed a Chinese fishing village into a “City of Music”, and brought Russian-Yiddish culture to China.

What important lessons can we, the Jews of the European and American Diaspora, learn from the Jews of China? Finally, why did the Jews of China disappear? And – did they? The audience was invited to take a journey to China and find out the answers to many perplexing questions.

copies of Irene Shaland's book at the museum bookstore

Irene Shaland’s book signing followed the lecture. The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories was quickly sold out at the Museum store. What could be a better award for an author!

If you did not get a copy of Irene’s book at the museum, you can purchase it at Amazon

Link to Irene’s Book on Amazon

Posted in Asia, Books, Broadway, General, History, Lecture | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment