Movies about the Jewish experience or featuring a Jewish character in a central role contain some of the most memorable images in motion picture history. Who could ever forget Moses majestically parting the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments; the Exodus arriving safely off the shores of Palestine; Tevye and Golde serenading each other with "Do You Love Me?" in Fiddler on the Roof; or lovable young Giosué being hoisted atop an American tank in the closing moments of Life Is Beautiful?
For Reel Jewish, film aficionado Joel Samberg has selected the best Jewish movies of all time and organized them into intriguing groupings such as The Old Jewish Neighbor Hoods, The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Patient, In the Face of Insanity, and License to Kvell. Film by film, from Avalon to Zelig, he brings outstanding musicals, adventures, love stories, heartbreakers, and biblical epics to life, offering witty comparisons, discerning criticisms, and refreshing insights into old themes.
Occasionally, our engaging guide interrupts his reel tour with sidebars that provide entrée into the minds of the studio heads, writers, directors, and stars who gave Jewish movies their life. We get the inside scoop on the casting of Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl (Streisand wanted Marlon Brando), on Steven Spielberg's insistence on filming Schindler's List in black-and-white (the studio feared dismal video sales), even on the romantic sparks that flew as Warren Beatty and Annette Bening shot Bugsy.
Brimming with Joel Samberg's infectious enthusiasm and delightful humor, Reel Jewish is a passionate celebration of the Jewish presence both on the screen and behind the scenes. Whether you are a serious film buff or someone who simply likes to escape once in a while into the magical world of movies, Reel Jewish will take you on a joyful cinematic ride.
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Joel Samberg, author of The Jewish Book of Lists, has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Moment, the Daily News magazine, New Jersey Monthly, Young Judaean, and 3-2-1 Contact. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in theater and journalism, Joel has also been involved in corporate communications and community theater. He lives in Verona, New Jersey, with his wife and three children.
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