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Turner Classic Movies is airing a ‘Jewish Experience’ series of films this month



(JTA) — Turner Classic Movies admits that capturing the “Jewish experience” in a series of films is a daunting task, but the network is attempting to do so anyway.

Every Thursday night in January, the channel is showing movies spanning from the 1930s through the 1990s on the theme. According to an article on the TCM website, the series aims to show “how filmmakers have attempted to deal with such themes as assimilation, antisemitism, religion, family life and the Holocaust, sometimes with clarity and honesty, other times with varying degrees of distortion and caricature.”

There are a couple of films in the series set during the Holocaust, but notably none involve concentration camp settings. Instead, the general focus seems to be on portraying comedy, romance and the joy of everyday Jewish life.

Antisemitism does come up often in the Jewish experience, and that is reflected in the films, including in “Crossfire,” a film noir from 1947 about the murder of a Jewish man that helped kick off the series last week. The theme is also prominent in “Fiddler on the Roof,” which also aired on the series’ first night.

Here are the remaining movies to look forward to, in the order in which they will air in EST.

“Bye Bye Braverman” (1968), Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. 

In this film adapted from the novel “To An Early Grave” by Wallace Markfield, four Jewish writer friends — played by George Segal, Jack Warden, Sorrell Brooke and Joseph Wiseman — travel to the funeral of their other friend after he dies suddenly. Though the film was not as well received as other films directed by Sidney Lumet (who started his career as a child actor in Yiddish theater), it includes a Black-Jewish character, which is still rare in cinema today.

“The Angel Levine” (1970), Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. 

Speaking of Jews of color on screen: this movie has a Jewish angel played by Harry Belafonte, whose real-life father was of Jewish descent. The angel visits a poor Jewish tailor, played by Zero Mostel, who starred as the original Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway. It was directed by Hungarian-born Jew Ján Kadár.

“Annie Hall” (1977), Jan. 13 at 12 a.m. 

This is the only Woody Allen film in the lineup. Before the scandalous accusations against the director picked up steam again over the past decade, “Annie Hall” was a landmark for American Jews in film, encapsulating the neurotic Jewish New York comedic archetype. Allen plays comedian Alvy Singer who falls in love with the titular character played by Diane Keaton.

“Soup For One” (1982), Jan. 13 at 2 a.m. 

This is not a Woody Allen film, but his influence is all over this comedy written and directed by Jonathan Kaufer, in which a New York Jewish television producer played by Saul Rubinek tries to find his perfect woman.

“Set Me Free” (1999), Jan. 13 at 3:45 a.m. 

Most of the movies in the series are American, but there are a couple of international films, including this French-Canadian coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old Jewish girl obsessed with the character that Anna Karina plays in Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Vivre sa vie.” Directed by Léa Pool, it’s the most recent film in the lineup, though it is set in 1963. Pool, whose father was a Holocaust survivor from Poland, is one of several women directors represented in the series.

“Crossing Delancey” (1988), Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. 

Probably the most famous of the romantic comedies in the series, “Crossing Delancey” was also directed and written by women: Joan Micklin Silver and Susan Sandler, respectively. Amy Irving stars as Isabelle Grossman, a young New Yorker who works for a bookstore and is close with her grandmother — who wants to see her granddaughter settle down. She has a matchmaker set her up with Sam Posner (Peter Riegert), a pickle salesman, and Isabelle is torn between him and the intellectual world. The film also shows the Lower East Side from the era when it was bustling with Jewish immigrant shops and vendors, before gentrification irrevocably changed it.

“Over the Brooklyn Bridge” (1984), Jan. 19 at 10 p.m. 

One can never have too many romantic comedies set in New York. In this one, directed by Israeli-born Menahem Golan, Elliott Gould plays Alby Sherman, a business owner whose wealthy uncle will only loan him money if he breaks up with his gentile girlfriend (Margaux Hemingway). The very Jewish cast also includes Sid Caesar, Carol Kane, Shelley Winters and a very young (and uncredited) Sarah Michelle Gellar.

“Girlfriends” (1978), Jan. 20 at 12 a.m. 

This pioneering indie film — which according to The New York Times was the first independent American film to be funded primarily by grantmaking organizations — is also is notable for its portrayal of female friendship between Susan Weinblatt (Melanie Mayron), a Jewish photographer, and her ex-roommate Anne Munroe (Anita Skinner), who moves out to get married. Directed by Claudia Weill, who also wrote it along with Vicki Polon, the film is a precursor to so many contemporary indies, including Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s “Frances Ha.”

“The Frisco Kid” (1979), Jan. 20 at 1:45 a.m. 

Jews are not usually associated with Westerns. But in this comedy, Gene Wilder stars as a rabbi from Poland who is set to lead a congregation in San Francisco. He gets stuck en route in the Wild West and befriends a bank robber played by Harrison Ford. Some scenes don’t hold up in contemporary times, especially ones portraying Native Americans, but TCM doesn’t shy away from showing how stereotypes are part of film history.

“Au Revoir, Les Enfants” (1987), Jan. 20 at 4 a.m. 

This French film is one of the few in the series that takes place during the years of the Holocaust. Louis Malle’s autobiographical film is based on his time at the Catholic school Petit-College d’Avon, at which the real headmaster Pére Jacques (Pére Jean in the film) attempted to hide Jewish children from the Nazis. The film focuses on the friendship of two fictionalized 12-year-old boys, Julian Quentin (Gaspard Manesse) and Jean Bonnet, whose real name is Jean Kippelstein (Raphael Fejtö).

“Biloxi Blues” (1988), Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. 

Neil Simon adapted his own play, the second in his semi-autobiographical trilogy about growing up in Brighton Beach, for the screen. Eugene Jerome (Matthew Broderick), a young Jewish Brooklynite, is drafted into the army during World War II and is sent to bootcamp in Mississippi. The movie is helmed by prolific Jewish film and theater director Mike Nichols, who was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a young boy in 1939.

“The Chosen” (1981), Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. 

Many of the movies selected for this series unsurprisingly take place in Brooklyn, including this one based on Chaim Potok’s 1967 novel set towards the end of World War II. It shows the conflict between different sects of Judaism by focusing on the friendship of two Jewish teenagers — Reuven Malter (Barry Miller), who is Modern Orthodox, and Danny Saunders (Robby Benson), who is Hasidic.

“Portnoy’s Complaint” (1972), Jan. 27 at 12 a.m. 

Richard Benjamin stars in this movie based on Philip Roth’s book, adapted and directed by Ernest Lehman. Though the novel — which is written as a monologue from Alexander Portnoy to his psychoanalyst — turned Roth into a celebrity author, the film adaptation was not critically or commercially successful, especially when compared to another Roth adaptation starring Benjamin: “Goodbye Columbus.”

“The Last Metro” (1980), Jan. 27 at 2 a.m. 

The other Holocaust movie in the series is also from France, and is one of director French New Wave pioneer François Truffaut’s most commercially successful films. The manager of a small theater company in Paris (Catherine Deneuve) hides her Jewish husband (Gérard Depardieu) during the Nazi occupation.

“Tevya” (1939), Jan. 27 at 4:15 a.m. 

The series closes with another take on Sholem Aleichem’s stories that makes a nice bookend with “Fiddler on the Roof.” Adapted and directed by Maurice Schwartz, who also stars in the titular role, the Yiddish film was thought to be lost until a print was found in 1978. In 1991, it became the first non-English film to be selected for preservation in the library of Congress National Film Registry for its cultural significance. 

The post Turner Classic Movies is airing a ‘Jewish Experience’ series of films this month appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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