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Caught in the Act: Meet Malkie Knopfler

Sarah Einhorn

“I resorted to getting attention another way; through being the class clown. Actually, without realizing it, my teachers helped me along in my acting career”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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"I was nine years old and in camp. My counselor approached me and asked me if I’d like to volunteer to give a devar Torah in the dining room during the Shabbos meal. I told her it was no problem. That Shabbos I stood up on a chair, one finger on my lips in a ‘shhh’ gesture, my other hand raised to get everyone’s attention in true head-counselor fashion. The older campers and staff proceeded to roll with laughter. That only spurred me on to pretend I was the head counselor. My “devar Torah” ended up more of a comedy show than anything else. That was where I got my first taste of acting in public. My sister was ready to bury herself, but for me it was a heady feeling. Everyone was listening to me and enjoying themselves. In short, it’s not a question of how I got started; acting is just part of my being.”

What threw me off the most the first time I met Malkie Knopfler (better known as Mrs. Tweezers, from the Mali DVDs) is that her voice and laugh are the same in real life as on the videos she stars in. Mrs. Tweezers’s voice was not coming from a blonde but from a dark-haired (sheiteled?), normal wife, mother, neighbor, and friend. It was so confusing!

“Most people assume that I must’ve shined and been really popular in school,” Malkie reminisces. “Actually, the reality is different. I shined until about third grade. At that point I would get the lead parts in all the plays. I was confident and performed well. Once I got to third grade, there were more scholastics involved. Automatically, I was being judged for my scholastic abilities, and unfortunately while it happens inadvertently most of the time, I wasn’t able to measure up.

 

“Academics did not come easily for me,” Malkie continued. “So I resorted to getting attention another way; through being the class clown. Actually, without realizing it, my teachers helped me along in my acting career. When I talked in class, they’d ask, ‘Malkie, would you like to share what is so important with the class?’ I’d then get up and share what I wanted to say, enjoying every minute of the attention I received. This was another venue of stand-up comedy although it wasn’t in a positive setting.

“Camp was where I shined. I was heavily involved in any plays, skits, and breakouts that took place. I got to know lots of the famous actresses in the Jewish world today. Camp was a real blessing for me. Everyone in camp from staff to the little kids knew Malkie Rosenberg; that’s just how it was. One big benefit of not having been the center of things in school is that I learned to understand and feel for the underdog. I try to point out to my daughter, who’s very popular, that she should look out for the girls who need the extra smile.

“In high school I mostly had nonspeaking parts in the school play. One year I was a tree. A tree!” Malkie laughs. “But right then and there I decided I’d be the best tree I could be,” Malkie continued animatedly. “I made so many faces I had the audience in stitches. By the time the next play came around everyone was pining to be a tree!” (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 699)

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