The New ‘Star Wars’ Isn’t Pro-Reform Judaism. It’s Anti-Religious Inflexibility.

Posted on January 15th, 2018
By Jenny Singer for The Forward


I watched “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” this weekend because the group I was with couldn’t decide between “Call Me By Your Name” and “I, Tonya.” I did not intend to write something Jewish about “Star Wars,” just as I have not previously intended to write about Jews and sports or Jews and sex-spaghetti.

Then I saw an article in Tablet by Liel Leibovitz, called “Reform Jediism,” which used the plot of the new “Star Wars” film as an allegory for the lack of seriousness in Reform Judaism, and I was drawn into the fray like Kylo Ren, conflicted villain of “The Last Jedi,” is drawn to the dark side.

 
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Jewish Festivals 2018 - 2019 Calendar

Posted on January 8th, 2018
From everfest.com

 

From Tucson to Mobile, from Denver to Miami, there are Jewish film festivals, music festivals, food festivals, and more, all over the country. If there's none near you, take a vacation.  Keep up on all the Jewish Festivals with everfest.

 

A Place for the Disabled: on Stage and Screen

Posted on January 1st, 2018
By Jennifer Richler for Tablet Magazine 


Jewish organizations are at the forefront of the battle for greater inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly in the performing arts

When the movie Wonder opened last month, some criticized the choice to have a nondisabled actor play the role of Auggie, a boy with severe facial disfigurement. For these critics, the decision was yet another example of the way people with disabilities are excluded.

Advocates for the disabled have long been fighting for greater inclusion of people with physical and cognitive disabilities in all spheres of life, particularly in education, recreation, and employment. Among the most vocal of these advocates are leaders of Jewish organizations who say Jewish values are at the core of their work. “Everything comes back to treating someone well. If you’re not doing that, you’re not living up to Jewish values,” said Lauren Appelbaum, communications director of RespectAbility, based in Rockville, Maryland. Though it is not a Jewish organization, several of its core staff have strong ties to the organized Jewish community. As such, the agency has made Jewish inclusion a priority, choosing students to serve as Jewish Inclusion Fellows and maintaining a Jewish Inclusion Facebook page. 

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New film reminds us just how special Sammy Davis Jr. was

Posted on December 25th, 2017
By Dennis J. Freeman for news4usonline.com


'SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I'VE GOTTA BE ME' GIVES US AN INSIGHT LOOK INTO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF ONE OF BLACK HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST ENTERTAINERS


Sammy Davis Jr. was one of a kind. To be sure, there will not be another quite like him. For over six decades, Davis did thing on his own terms in the entertainment industry. The PBS American Masters produced film Sammy Davis Jr:. I’ve Gotta Be Me, which was recently showcased at the AFI Film Festival (AFI Fest), gives viewers an intimate look at the rarity of the triple threat entertainer that Davis was.

But more than the fact that he could act, dance and sing, Davis was a showman’s showman, according to the film’s depiction of him. His impeccable tap dancing skills was right up there with the famed Nicholas Brothers (Fayard and Harold). Impersonations of stars like Jerry Lewis and Humphrey Bogart became another gateway that helped cultivate his success on stage on the screen.

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Actress Hedy Lamarr, the Real-Life Jewish Wonder Woman Whose Inventions Led to WiFi and GPS

Posted on December 18th, 2017
By J. Hoberman for Tablet Magazine


The affecting new documentary ‘Bombshell’ is haunted by recordings of her lilting voice from the 1990s, after her descent into pop-culture hell


With all due respect, so far as movies are concerned, the Jewish “Wonder Woman” of 2017 is not Gal Gadot but Hedwig Kiesler (1914-2000), born in Vienna and reborn in Hollywood as Hedy Lamarr.

As detailed in Alexandra Dean’s affecting new documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, and recent biographies by Ruth Barton and Richard Rhodes, Lamarr was not only the most beautiful woman in Hollywood—the icon whose look inspired Disney’s Snow White, Bob Kane’s Catwoman, and blonde star Joan Bennett’s brunette makeover, the subject of the adolescent Andy Warhol’s earliest recorded drawing—but quite possibly the smartest person in the movie industry of any gender.

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