“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: What’s the Allure?

by Elliot B. Gertel   THE CW NETWORK’S Crazy Ex-Girlfriend began with Jewish lawyer Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) running into her irresolute summer-camp crush, Filipino-American Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), and then leaving a high-powered New York job in order to stalk him in his home town of West Covina, California. Rebecca is obsessed and devious, […]

Read More

“Marshall” — Civil Rights and Old-Fashioned Shul Jews

by Elliot B. Gertel Discussed in this essay: Marshall, a film directed by directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff. THE WELL-WRITTEN and finely-acted movie Marshall may have taken some liberties in depicting Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) and Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad), the Bridgeport, Connecticut Jewish attorney who helped out with a noted […]

Read More

“Norman” — Why Trash the Jewish Community?

by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel ALTHOUGH WELL-ACTED and creatively shot, Joseph Cedar’s Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, is a cynical and nihilistic assault on Jewish community. The title character, Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere), is a lonely New York Jewish man of limited means who seeks the attention of […]

Read More

TV Time: Jewish Manhood in “Royal Pains”

by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel ROYAL PAINS (2009-2016), though a limited summer series on the USA Network, was a noteworthy television show because of its longevity and popularity, and because of its Jewish themes, its odd take on Jewish manhood — and womanhood. (Episodes are all available through your favorite on-demand conveyor.) When we meet […]

Read More

Portrayals of Jews in Recent Films

by Elliot B. Gertel FROM LATE SUMMER to early fall, I saw four films that were short-lived in theaters but widely discussed. These movies presented different portraits of Jews — the first, very indirectly; the others, pervasively. Here are some short reviews for the curious, who may be interested in tracking down any or all […]

Read More

Deborah Lipstadt vs. David Irving

PUTTING THE LIE TO HOLOCAUST DENIAL by Elliot B. Gertel Discussed in this essay: Denial, a film directed by Mick Jackson, written by David Hare. DENIAL is an engaging, beautifully acted and finely-structured film, based on the well-publicized story of an Emory University historian, Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), a Holocaust studies specialist, and British writer, […]

Read More

Kvetching about Judaism in “Café Society”

by Elliot B. Gertel WHILE WOODY ALLEN’S movies can be formulaic, this has rarely prevented him from telling a good story and providing interesting characters. But except for the fine cast and the enchanting luster provided by new production partner cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, Café Society comes across simply as a checklist for many a Woody […]

Read More

A Symposium on the Jewish Future

AT ONE OF THE SITES WHERE THAT FUTURE WAS CREATED by Elliot B. Gertel THIS IS THE THIRD and (at least for now) final installment in a series I’ve done about noteworthy discussions of Jewish religion and culture found on internet videos of valuable symposia. The first installment was a look at milestones at New […]

Read More

Searching the Battle-Torn Universe for Jewish Values

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE by Elliot B. Gertel NEVER KEEP an old space ship around for twenty years after an epic battle to save Earth from space aliens. You never know when its distress signal system will be reactivated, drawing horrible insect-like creatures from a technologically-formidable beyond, especially their ruthless, powerful queen bee leader. That is […]

Read More