The History of Jews in America Through Film
The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is proud to present a brand-new film series that examines the history, stories, experiences and legacy of American Jews from the earliest days of moving pictures to present. We will look at how Jews are portrayed in film and explore important subjects such as stereotyping, assimilation, anti-Semitism and even Jewish mothers. Further, we will trace how these views have changed over the past one hundred years. We will reflect on not only how society as a whole sees Jews, but how Jews see themselves and change in response to these societal forces.
Each session is a 4-week series that will explore the Jewish experience through short movie clips and feature length films. The classes will be led by Jay Sorkin, researcher and educator in Holocaust history.
September 2019- March 2020
Bernard Weinger JCC
300 Revere Dr.
Northbrook, IL 60062
$100 for each 4-class session
60s through end of 20th Century
In week one we will continue our look at how the Jewish family has fared in its quest for assimilation, and how the 1960s created an atmosphere for more introspection, and more controversial portrayals of Jews, especially the Jewish mother, as we screen Goodbye, Columbus, based on the story by Philip Roth.
In week two we re-examine the battle of the generations to see how this has changed since the 1920s. This 1984 romantic comedy, Over the Brooklyn Bridge, introduces economic need into the equation, as this time it’s the younger who needs the elder, and the conditions that are imposed to make things work.
In week three we will take our first look into the Hasidic community, as we share A Price Above Rubies, about a young woman who finds it difficult to conform to the restrictions imposed on her by her community. It is a very different example of assimilation and the maintaining of traditions and values.
In week four we will explore three generations of a Jewish family, as it looks back over their years in America, in Barry Levinson’s lovingly-made film Avalon. We hear the recounting of the family stories, and see the changes that life in America brought to them, and the tradeoffs they had to make that affected their relationships, both positively and negatively.
March 3, 10, 17, and 24