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New on DVD: Biblical Archeology of Israel

posted by Nell Minow

Alden Films presents “Biblical Archeology of Israel,” including:  ANCIENT ROOTS  — a compilation of recent discoveries in archaeological research in Israel   THE BOOK AND THE IDOL — Israel through the ages, from the stone age to biblical times   EXPLORERS […]

A Purim Take on Uptown Funk — Shushan Funk

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Purim! May this be a year when all the Hamens of the world are vanquished. This tale, was once told In the days of Achashverosh This one needs a new girl Needs a good girl A straight masterpiece! So […]

Interview: Rabbi Evan Moffic on What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover

posted by Nell Minow

Rabbi Evan Moffic’s latest book is What Every Christian Needs to Know about Passover: What It Means and Why It Matters, a guide for Christians to the celebration observed by Jesus at the Last Supper. It will be published tomorrow, […]

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of “Above and Beyond”

posted by Nell Minow

In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of “Machal” (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the war, they also laid the groundwork […]

Exodus: Gods and Kings

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date:December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date: December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of Exodus is central to three of the world’s most significant religions and one of the Bible’s most cinematic stories, with a flawed but charismatic hero and a stirring story of slaves seeking freedom.  It has already been […]

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof

posted by Nell Minow

The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened […]

Tuesdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film

posted by Nell Minow

This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Tuesday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. […]

Wish I Was Here

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

My intention was to review Zach Braff’s new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter.  My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid […]

Lullaby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

An outstanding cast, a weighty subject, and the sincerest of intentions are almost enough to make up for an undercooked, stuntish, and stagey script in this story about a man who decides to die and the family he leaves behind. […]

The All-of-a-Kind Family is Back!

posted by Nell Minow

I am very happy that one of my favorite book series is back in print, Sydney Taylor’s warm, funny All of a Kind Family stories about a turn-of-the-last century Jewish family in New York, inspired by Taylor’s own family. The […]

Interview: Stars of “Walking With the Enemy” Jonas Armstrong, Simon Kunz, and Simon Dutton

posted by Nell Minow

Jonas Armstrong, Simon Kunz, and Simon Dutton talked to me about appearing in the Holocaust story “Walking with the Enemy.” I first asked them about their accents.  Two Brits and an Irishman were cast as Hungarian Jews who spoke both […]

Fading Gigolo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014

John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in “Fading Gigolo,” a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation […]

Tonight on PBS: The Story of the Jews

posted by Nell Minow

Starting tonight on PBS: Simon Schama hosts #StoryofTheJewsPBS – 3000 years of Jewish history, culture & identity. Prize winning author of fifteen books and Emmy-Award winner Simon Schama brings to life Jewish history and experience in a new five-part documentary series The Story of […]

Jews Telling Jokes and Stories: Doc Club

posted by Nell Minow

“Jews Telling Jokes & Stories” on Doc Club in December The Jewish legacy of storytelling and humor enlivens December Doc Club’s  diverse selection of films on IFC’s SundanceNOW, a virtual destination for streaming independent films online. From classic Jewish comedy to a look into […]

Interview: Playwright Jason Odell Williams of “Handle With Care”

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to playwright Jason Odell Williams for taking time to talk to me about his romantic comedy, Handle With Care, opening tonight in New York, and starring Broadway legend Carol Lawrence, the original Maria in “West Side Story.” It tells […]

Happy Hanukkah!

posted by Nell Minow

For the first time in more than a hundred years, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. It won’t happen again for thousands of years, so carve the turkey and spin the dreidel and enjoy this […]

Interview: “The Book Thief”

posted by Nell Minow

Following an extraordinary evening presenting the film at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, with survivors in the audience, some of the people behind “The Book Thief” sat down for an interview.  Director Brian Percival, who introduced the film, joined stars Sophie […]

The Book Thief

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014

The title character in “The Book Thief” is Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a little girl in pre-WWII Germany.  We first see her on a train with her mother and dying younger brother.  The children were both going to be delivered to […]

For Hannukah — Mama Doni’s Jewish Holiday Party

posted by Nell Minow

Hannukah is coming early this year!  Get the family ready to celebrate with the first DVD from Mama Doni, with a warm and tuneful introduction to Hannukah, Passover, and Shabbat.  Mama Doni sings and dances through the holidays, including a bluegrass […]

A New 3D Imax Film: Jerusalem

posted by Nell Minow

I am very excited about “Jerusalem,” a spectacular new 3D Imax film about the city called “the gateway to God.”  Exquisitely beautiful cinematography and immersive 3D effects bring the audience inside the city, from its thousands-year history to its religious […]

Trailer: When Comedy Went to School

posted by Nell Minow

This documentary is a portrait of the generation of the mid-century Jewish comics that includes Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Jerry Stiller, who appear telling jokes and telling their stories. And it is the story of […]

Never Forget to Lie — Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on “Frontline” is “Never Forget to Lie,” filmmaker Marian Marzynski explores, for the first time, his own wartime childhood and the experiences of other child survivors, teasing out their feelings about Poland, the Catholic Church, and the ramifications of identities […]

Hava Nagila

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013

It is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, and irresistible.  It is a tradition that has transcended its origins and yet calls us back to the complicated feelings of our past. All of which makes it a perfect Rorschach test and intriguing metaphor for […]

Interview: Janet Tobias of the Holocaust Documentary “No Place on Earth”

posted by Nell Minow

No Place on Earth is the extraordinary new documentary about a small group of Jews from Ukraine who hid from the Nazis in two caves for almost two years.  Interviews with the survivors, narration from a book written in the 1960’s […]

Interview: The Rockin’ Rabbis from “The American Bible Challenge”

posted by Nell Minow

The American Bible Challenge returns for a second season on GSN, featuring host Jeff Foxworthy and musical co-host Kirk Franklin.  It airs Thursdays at 9 (8 central) I had a chance to speak with one of this season’s teams, the […]

Frog Song — for Passover

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Passover!

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Purim!

posted by Nell Minow

Shake your groggers!!

Seven-DVD Set of Holocaust Movies

posted by Nell Minow

 ALDEN FILMS is distributing a new 7-DVD special on the Holocaust that is an important resources for schools, libraries, and families.  For a limited time, the set includes two extra DVDs: WHAT FIRE CAN’T BURN, a tale of a childhood lost […]

Jewish Gilt — New Television Series on the Jewish Channel

posted by Nell Minow

Jewish Gilt with Jonathan Greenstein is a wonderful new series on the Jewish channel that explores the precious artifacts treasured by Jewish families and the stories that go with them. I had the pleasure of speaking to Greenstein about the […]

Washington DC Jewish Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Jewish Film Festival starts today with a spectacular line-up of movies that reflect Jewish experience and culture.  The opening night show is “Paris Manhattan,” a French film about a young woman obsessed with Woody Allen. Other highlights include the […]

Sesame Street Celebrates Hanukkah!

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate Hanukkah with the Maccabeats!

posted by Nell Minow

Light the Hanukkah Candles — With a Rube Goldberg Contraption!

posted by Nell Minow

A Rube Goldberg-inspired machine for lighting the Hanukkah candles: And behind the scenes:   Don’t try this at home!

Happy Hanukkah!

posted by Nell Minow

Make a Paper Menorah

posted by Nell Minow

From Papertoys.com: Happy Hanukkah! (And thanks to my friend Kathy Deane for sharing!)

Shalom Sesame DVD Club

posted by Nell Minow

The popular Shalom Sesame DVD series has announced a Shalom Sesame DVD Club.  Grover the Muppet and Anneliese van der Pol (That’s So Raven, Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast) travel to Israel to meet new people and learn new things in this 12-part DVD series co-produced by Sesame […]

Helping Families Celebrate Hanukkah

posted by Nell Minow

Jewish Holidays in a Box has some help for families celebrating Hanukkah this week: Hanukkah in a Box features Hanukkah Bingo Game for 4 Dreidels for 4 with How-to-Play Instructions Hanukkah Blessings and Candle-Lighting Tips (laminated) Hanukkah Songs (laminated) Hanukkah Primer with […]

Interview: Arnon Goldfinger of “The Flat”

posted by Nell Minow

After documentary filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother died at age 97 in Israel, he brought a film crew to her apartment where she and his grandfather lived from the time they immigrated to what was then called Palestine just before World […]

Interview: Allen Zadoff of Since You Left Me

posted by Nell Minow

I last talked to Allen Zadoff about his book, My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies.  He was kind enough to give me another interview about his new book, Since You Left Me.  Once again his hero is an unhappy teenage […]

Happy Sukkot!

posted by Nell Minow

L’Shana Tova! Rosh Hashanah Wishes for a Sweet New Year

posted by Nell Minow

“Possession” and the Tradition of Jewish Horror Films

posted by Nell Minow

The new horror film “Possession” is a kind of Jewish version of “The Exorcist,” the story of a little girl who is possessed by an evil spirit.  Like “The Exorcist,” it was inspired by a true story, and focuses on […]

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:May 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: May 5, 2012

One of the most daring rescue missions of the post WWII era was the Raid on Entebbe in 1976.  Terrorist groups called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France plane […]

Happy Purim!

posted by Nell Minow

Purim, which begins tonight, is the celebration of the triumph of Queen Esther over the plot of Haman to kill all the Jews. Jewish children love to dress up and to hear the “purim shpiel,” the megillah’s story of how […]

Oprah Visits the Hasidic Jewish Community

posted by Nell Minow

Next on Oprah’s new series is a two-part visit to the cloistered world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, a branch of Orthodox Judaism with strict observance of religious laws and traditions. Tune in to OWN on Sunday, February 12, at […]

Interview: Writer-Director Todd Graff of ‘Joyful Noise’

posted by Nell Minow

I love Todd Graff’s first two films, Camp and Bandslam.  Both were fresh and warm-hearted stories about teenagers who are passionate about music and performing, inspired by his own experiences as a theater-mad kid.  His new film, “Joyful Noise,” has […]

Washington Jewish Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

One of the highlights of the movie-going year is the Washington Jewish Film Festival and this year’s line-up is spectacular.  As usual, the range of subjects and genres and countries is astonishingly varied and this year that also includes gender, […]

Have a Little Faith

posted by Nell Minow

Writer Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson) got a very unusual request.  A terminally ill rabbi asked if Albom would write and deliver his eulogy.  “As is often the case with […]

For Yom Kippur: Louis Armstrong Sings ‘Jonah and the Whale’

posted by Nell Minow

Kol Nidre

posted by Nell Minow

Warn greetings to all who are observing Yom Kippur.  May you and all you love be inscribed in the Book of Life.

New From Shalom Sesame!

posted by Nell Minow

I have three great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to give away!  Celebrate Sukkoth with Monsters in the Sukkah! Welcome the new year with The Sticky Shofar and explore the Holy Land with Adventures in Israel. I have one copy of […]

Break-Dancing Rosh Hashanah Celebration!

posted by Nell Minow

L’shana Tova — A Sweet New Year for All in 5772

posted by Nell Minow

May you and your families be inscribed in the Book of Life.

A Controversial Choice for a Judah Maccabee Film

posted by Nell Minow

The story of Judah Maccabee, one of the greatest warrior heroes in Jewish history, could make a great movie.  He led the first revolt against religious oppression in 167 BCE.  His victory is celebrated by Jews around the world each […]

Interview: John Madden of ‘The Debt’

posted by Nell Minow

John Madden, director of “Shakespeare in Love” and “Proof,” came to Washington, D.C. to talk about his newest film, “The Debt.”  It is a remake of an Israeli film about three Mossad agents who are revered as heroes for capturing […]

The Tablet on Jewish Influences in ‘Dirty Dancing’

posted by Nell Minow

Dirty Dancing (1987) is an iconic and enormously influential film, now scheduled for a remake, directed by the choreographer of the original film.  (We will not discuss the awful sequel, though you should listen to “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’s” Peter Sagel […]

Jewish Movies for Everyone

posted by Nell Minow

Malachi Kosanovich has a great Beliefnet gallery on six Jewish films everyone should see — all excellent choices. I’d also add: Fiddler on the Roof, Hester Street, Crossing Delancey, Gentleman’s Agreement, and Advice And Dissent.

Interview: Joseph Dorman of ‘Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness’

posted by Nell Minow

The writer Sholem Aleichem was born Sholom Rabinowitz.  He grew up in a Russian shtetl. Today, he is most widely remembered as the author of the stories which became the basis for Fiddler on the Roof.  But a new documentary […]

Contest: More From Shalom Sesame

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve got two great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to give away!  Grover Learns Hebrew features “Will and Grace’s” Debra Messing and Countdown Shavout has a guest appearance by…a dancing cow.  These are a great treat for Jewish families and anyone […]

List: Passover Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Reposting — Hag Sameach! Passover is not just about remembering the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It is about telling the story. Thousands of years before people talked about “learning styles,” the Seder included many different ways of telling […]

Google Exodus

posted by Nell Minow

The story of the Exodus updated for the era of social media!  A blessed Passover to all.  

Contest: DVDs for Purim and Passover!

posted by Nell Minow

There are two great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to celebrate the spring Jewish holidays and I have one of each to give away. It’s a wonderful way to help introduce children to two of the year’s most important festivals. This […]

Celebrate Tu B’Shvat

posted by Nell Minow

I don’t have an embed code, but you can visit YouTube to see an animated version of a Talmudic story in honor of today’s celebration of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat that gives thanks for trees and other things […]

Smile of the Week: A Flash Wedding

posted by Nell Minow

The Concert

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:August 6, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 27, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: August 6, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 27, 2010

A Russian conductor, demoted to symphony hall janitor, intercepts an invitation to perform in Paris and decides that he will accept. Andreï Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was once a celebrated conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra. But during the antisemitism of the […]

Happy Hannukah to Jews All Over the World

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Roger Nygard of ‘The Nature of Existence’

posted by Nell Minow

The Nature of Existence is a new documentary from Roger Nygard, who visited people all over the world to ask them the hardest and most important questions he could think of, about our purpose and the nature of existence. His […]

Interview: Marc Erlbaum, Maker of Inspiring Films

posted by Nell Minow

Marc Erlbaum wants to make films that touch people’s souls. He is the man behind Nationlight Productions, a film and television production company focused on creating inspiring, meaningful content for mainstream audiences of all backgrounds and affiliations. He was nice […]

‘God in America’ Comes to PBS

posted by Nell Minow

The US Religious Knowledge Survey, released Tuesday from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Americans are more willing to say that they are religious than they are willing to learn about the history and beliefs of […]

Perry Como Sings the Yom Kippur Hymn Kol Nidre

posted by Nell Minow

Jonah and the Whale

posted by Nell Minow

On the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews study the story of Jonah and the Whale. The Jewish educational and outreach group AISH says In a certain sense it is very much the story […]

Righteous Women: Documentaries about Jewish Heroines

posted by Nell Minow

George Heymont has an excellent column in the Huffington Post about three new tributes to real-life Jewish heroines, all shown at the recent San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. “Ahead of Time” is the story of Ruth Gruber. The first journalist […]

Interview: Aviva Kempner of ‘Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg”

posted by Nell Minow

Aviva Kempner is the director of the outstanding documentary, “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg,” just out on DVD. I interviewed her about making the film and new material and surprising discovery she added to the DVD features. What surprised you most in […]

Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010

Gertrude Berg is described in this sympathetic and engaging documentary as an earlier version of Oprah. She wrote every word of over twelve thousand scripts. She played the lead role and oversaw every element of the programs on radio, in […]

Interview: Yael Hersonski of ‘A Film Unfinished’

posted by Nell Minow

For decades, our impressions of the Holocaust have been formed by the images that survive and by the memories of those who were there. Now, as we near a time when the experience will no longer be within the memory […]

Protest of MPAA Rating for New Holocaust Film

posted by Nell Minow

“A Film Unfinished” is a new Holocaust documentary featuring never-before-shown footage from the Warsaw Ghetto. The MPAA has given it an “R” rating for “disturbing images of holocaust atrocities including graphic nudity.” This means that no one under 17 can […]

Visions of Israel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:August 10, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010

From the Western Wall to the Temple Mount, “Visions of Israel” shows us breathtaking footage of this timeless land, sacred to three major religions. Stunning high-definition footage takes us to sites ancient and contemporary, providing settings of ancient history going […]

Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief teen smoking.
DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010

This 2008 Australian film is one of my favorites of the past few years and I am very happy that it is finally available on a US-format DVD. It’s the story of the title character, Esther Blueburger (Danielle Catanzariti), approaching […]

The Origins of Hava Nagilah

posted by Nell Minow

Many of us have danced to Hava Nagilah. But how many of us know where it comes from? Here is a charming excerpt from a forthcoming documentary (featuring the co-creator of “Friends,” Harry Belafonte, and Leonard Nimoy!) that has the […]

National Day of Prayer: Prayer on Film

posted by Nell Minow

This lovely Sabbath scene from “Fiddler on the Roof” is inspired by a traditional Hebrew prayer.

The Year of Goodbyes

posted by Nell Minow

The Year of Goodbyes: A true story of friendship, family and farewells is a beautiful book by Debbie Levy inspired by the “poesiealbum” kept by her mother as a little girl in pre-WWII Germany before her family escaped to the […]

Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2009
DVD Release Date:April 13, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2009
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010

Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh is a documentary about a woman of incalculable courage and honor. Senesh, an idealist who hoped to help create a Jewish state in Israel, escaped from Hungary to what […]

Interview: Dr. Rick Hodes of ‘Making the Crooked Straight’

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Rick Hodes is an Orthodox Jew who has devoted his life to “tikkun olam,” “healing the world. His motto is the Talmud’s statement that “He who saves one life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” […]

Yom Hashoah, Day of Remembrance

posted by Nell Minow

Today, all over the world, people of all faiths and cultures are observing Yom Hashoah, the annual Day of Remembrance for those who perished in the Holocaust. Yom is Hebrew for “Day” and Hashoah means “of Catasrophe” or “of Destruction.” […]

Trailer: Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled that this wonderful movie, which I saw at a film festival, will be in theaters this spring. Stay tuned!

List: Spiritual Movie Families

posted by Nell Minow

Beliefnet’s “How Spiritual is Your Family” quiz made me think of these movie families, among the very few on screen who are unabashedly spiritual. 1. The Blind Side Based on a true story, this movie makes it clear that a […]

Socalled: A Documentary about a Klezmer/Hip-Hop/Cowboy/Video-Artist

posted by Nell Minow

Socalled is a documentary with 18 short films about klezmer hip-hop music and video Montreal-based artist Josh “Socalled” Dolgin, featuring Katie Moore, Fred Wesley, C-Rayz Walz, David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Arkady Gendler, Benjamin Steiger Levine, D-Shade, Gonzales and lounge legend […]

A Serious Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2009

Larry Gopnik (theater actor Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor in 1967 Minneapolis. He covers a blackboard the size of a movie screen with equations, confidently lecturing his students about the uncertainty principle but outside the classroom unable to cope […]

50 Most Important Religion Movies: Film Snobbery

posted by Nell Minow

Take a look at Phil Hall’s great list of the most important religious films of all time from website Film Snobbery. My favorite film about the life of Jesus, “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” is number 2 on the […]

From Swastika to Jim Crow

posted by Nell Minow

Because this is the 20th anniversary of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival, all of the previous festival directors were given the chance to pick their favorites from past years to put on this year’s schedule. That is how I […]

Michael Verhoeven at the Jewish Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

At noon today, Visionary Award recipient Michael Verhoeven was interviewed by Sharon Rivo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Center for Jewish Film. We saw a few moments from his new film, “Human Failure,” which has its North American premiere tonight […]

Washington Jewish Film Festival 2009

posted by Nell Minow

This year, the Washington Jewish Film Festival opening here tomorrow looks especially enticing, with a wide range of films from a wide range of sources all with some relationship to the experience of Jewish culture and history. The festival, now […]

Jewish Characters on TV

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to take a look at Beliefnet’s gallery of Jewish television characters by Sharon Udasin. I like the range it covers — animated and live-action, comedy and drama, observant and cultural.

TED’s Compassion Initiative

posted by Nell Minow

In 2008, TED gave its annual award to Karen Armstrong, author of more than 20 books about what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common and their effect on world events. She is a former nun who now calls herself […]

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

In honor of the World Series, take a look at this documentary about baseball star Hank Greenberg. Brilliant documentary-maker Aviva Kempner has created a gem of a movie to lift the spirit of anyone who cares about baseball — or […]

Interview: Michael Stuhlbarg of ‘A Serious Man’

posted by Nell Minow

NM: You conveyed so much in your body language when you get hugged by the Sy character. How did you create that physicality? MS: You know what? It just happens. It just naturally happened that way. We did it once […]

Two Great Posts on Idol Chatter

posted by Nell Minow

I am honored to share coverage of popular culture with the thoughtful posters over at Idol Chatter. Two posts I have especially liked this week are Ellen Leventry’s commentary on the new homeless American Girl doll and the Mont Blanc […]

Three Movies Examine Our Struggle to Understand God

posted by Nell Minow

Three new and very different movies have one thing in common — they all ask their characters and their audiences to think about the nature of God and faith. This week we have a perky romantic comedy with Ricky Gervais […]

Neil Diamond Sings Kol Nidrei

posted by Nell Minow

From the film “The Jazz Singer,” the third version of the story previously made with Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Neil Diamond sings the beautiful prayer heard each year on the Day of Atonement. And yes, that is Laurence Olivier […]

Upcoming Film Searches for God

posted by Nell Minow

In every corner of the world, there’s one question that can never be definitively answered, yet stirs up equal parts passion, curiosity, self-reflection and often wild imagination: “What is God?” Filmmaker Peter Rodger explores this query in the provocative non-fiction […]

Gertrude Berg, Television Pioneer

posted by Nell Minow

A forthcoming book and documentary about Gertrude Berg tell the story of this pioneering broadcaster, producer, and actress. According to a story in Flow Magazine, Gertrude Berg was the founder of the family situation comedy on radio and television. She […]

Defiance

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009

Cowriter-director Edward Zwick, who also made “Glory,” the story of an all-black Union regiment in the Civil War, spoke to me about why it was important to tell the story of the Bielski brothers, who kept 1200 Jews hidden from […]

Bye Bye Braverman

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful Warner Archive has released another movie I remember fondly, Bye Bye Braverman. Director Sidney Lumet, showing the same feel for the city evident in his other films like “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Serpico,” made this film about four […]

‘Naomi’s Song’

posted by Nell Minow

One of the tenderest stories in the Bible is the tale of Ruth, the young widow who chose to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Although it fills only four short chapters, the two characters are vivid and their story involving […]

Purim!

posted by Nell Minow

Purim, which comes this year on March 10, is the celebration of the triumph of Queen Esther over the plot of Haman to kill all the Jews. Jewish children love to dress up and to hear the “purim shpiel,” the […]

Ask a Real Nazi-Fighter

posted by Nell Minow

The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation has put together free resources for teachers who want their students to learn about the resistance fighters who opposed the Nazis. Their website includes a place to ask real-life partisans like the Bielski brothers featured […]

Interview: Director Ed Zwick of ‘Defiance’

posted by Nell Minow

Edward Zwick, the director of the new Holocaust movie “Defiance,” is well-known for both historical dramas (“Glory”) and intimate personal stories (the television series “Thirtysomething”) – and for finding the small moments in big stories and the big emotions in […]

The Top 10 Jewish Movie Characters from Esther Kustanowitz

posted by Nell Minow

Esther Kustanowitz posted her list of the top 10 Jewish movie characters on Idol Chatter. Some are a bit of a stretch — Obi-Wan Kenobi? Melanie Griffith in “A Stranger Among Us?” Aside from the fact that she is only […]

Do Holocaust Movies Help Or Hinder Our Understanding?

posted by Nell Minow

Stuart Klawans, movie critic for The Nation for 20 years, has written a provocative essay about Holocaust movies for the website Nextbook. Like so many other Jews, I have made my contribution toward the multiplication of Holocaust films. On New […]

Swingin’ Dreidel

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah!

Menorah Parades

posted by Nell Minow

I am charmed by this recent and fast-spreading Hannukah tradition, the menorah parade. Here’s one with firetrucks!

Christmas Specials and Jewish Children

posted by Nell Minow

December is a long month for Jewish parents. From the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, America is completely saturated with Christmas and it can be very difficult to explain to small children why Santa seems to come to […]

What Can Barbie Teach Us About Judaism?

posted by Nell Minow

What can the most successful doll on the planet show us about being Jewish today? A new film called The Tribe uses the story of the Jewish woman who created the Barbie and Ken dolls to explore the nature of […]

‘Unorthodox’ TV Movie Filming in DC

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Post reports that a new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS called “Unorthodox” is currently filming in Washington DC: Great to see Hollywood getting into spirituality! The crew that set up Wednesday on Georgetown’s Cambridge Place for […]

Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger

posted by Nell Minow

I love this trailer for a new Australian movie about a girl struggling to fit in. Her friend is played by the wonderful Keisha Castle-Hughes of “Whale Rider” and “The Nativity.”

Kavanah Productions:

posted by Nell Minow

Kavanah is a documentary production company dedicated to creating films on Jewish themes to be used in educational settings. It was established by Lauren Shweder Biel, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at New York University. The word “kavanah” means “intention,” […]

Why and when do we pray? — “Then She Found Me”

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winner Helen Hunt returns to the screen in the upcoming “Then She Found Me,” adapted from the book by Elinor Lipman. Hunt not only stars — she co-wrote and directed the film, which is about a teacher who tries to […]

Interview with Arie Kaplan of “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer”

posted by Nell Minow

Arie Kaplan writes the new series of Speed Racer comic books, called “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer.” Separate from the big-budget movie coming out later this year, the comics provide Speed Racer with a wider range of settings and […]

Chariots of Fire

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adult situations and language
Movie Release Date:1981
DVD Release Date:July 9, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adult situations and language
Movie Release Date: 1981
DVD Release Date: July 9, 2012

In honor of the 2012 Olympics in London, this 1981 classic and winner of the Oscar for Best Picture has been reissued. This is the true story of two athletes who raced in the 1924 Olympics, one a privileged Jewish […]

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