Sholom Aleichem (Hebrew greeting meaning "Peace be unto you!") was born near Pereyaslav, Ukraine, and settled in the United States two years before his death. The most popular and beloved of all Yiddish writers, he wrote with humor and tenderness about the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe and won the title "the Jewish Mark Twain". One of his creations, Tevye the Dairyman, has become world famous, thanks to the highly successful Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, which is based on Sholom Aleichem's Tevye stories. Although he also wrote plays and novels, it is for his short stories and his humorous monologues that Sholom Aleichem is best remembered.
Playwright Tony Kushner was born in New York City and raised in Louisiana. In addition to his plays, Kushner teaches at New York University and has co-written an opera with Bobby McFerrin. Kushner is best known for Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, a two-part seven-hour play that has won many awards (two Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, two Drama Desk Awards, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award). It was also selected one of the ten best plays of the 20th century by London's Royal National Theatre.