Moment staff picks: Jewish Movies to Watch on a Rainy Day

August, 01 2017

Casablanca (1942)
Diane Heiman, Senior Editor

Casablanca is a perfect antidote to rainy day doldrums—an elixir of love and heartache, courage and sacrifice with a good dose of stirring patriotism and achingly powerful acting. I love that movie, can you tell?

The Ten Commandments (1956)
Amy E. Schwartz, Opinion Editor

For pure cheesy pleasure, I’d go with The Ten Commandments, which frightened me so much as a child that I was actually taken out of the movie theater. I’m tougher now and, besides ever since taking my own kids on the Paramount Pictures tour that explained how the filmmakers used pre-CGI techniques to part the Red Sea, I’ve wanted to watch the thing through properly with lots of use of the pause button.

Marjorie Morningstar (1958)
Diane M. Bolz, Arts Editor

It’s an engaging melodrama and interesting portrayal of a typical New York Jewish family in the 1950s. The film was based on the 1955 novel of the same name by Herman Wouk, which I loved.

Exodus (1960)
Nadine Epstein, Editor-In-Chief and CEO

I used to watch it on TV on rainy days when I was a kid. I feel this movie was seminal in shaping the American view of Israel. Jews have a lot to thank Hollywood for!

The Producers (1968)
Ellen Wexler, Eugene M. Grant Fellow

It’s a chaotic, feverish comedy—and it’s always a joy to watch the absurdity of Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel’s performance.

Funny Girl (1968)
Ellen Meltzer, Director of Marketing & Community Outreach

Call me sentimental, but I absolutely love Funny Girl. There are scenes that give me chills and others that make me laugh. I particularly like the one when Omar Sharif says they should get married.

Blazing Saddles (1974)
Johnna Miller Raskin, Assistant to the Editor

Directed by Mel Brooks, this is a family favorite with Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Richard Pryor and so many actors who brilliantly satirize the ridiculousness of racism in Hollywood’s Western movies.

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Pat Lewis, Senior Development Associate

Because he is the quintessential Jewish doctor…and Terri Garr is the ultimate shiksa.

The Frisco Kid (1979)
Noah Phillips, Rabbi Harold S. White Fellow

It’s Gene Wilder as a Hasidic rabbi in the Old West, with Harrison Ford as his bank robber sidekick—isn’t it kind of obvious why this would be my favorite Jewish movie?

An American Tail (1986)
Dina Gold, Senior Editor

It’s an uplifting story of an immigrant family, encapsulating all the hopes newcomers bring with them to the U.S. As a new immigrant myself, I wholly identify with it, especially Fievel the mouse!

Spaceballs (1987)
Ross Bishton, Digital Marketing

The Schwartz is strong with Spaceballs; going plaid never gets old.

Crossing Delancey (1988)
Eileen Lavine, Senior Editor

The guy had a pickle shop and the girl wanted to be an intellectual—but they end up together. In those days, movies had happy endings!

Avalon (1990)
Suzanne Borden, Special Projects manager

It is about a multi-generational family dealing with the changing times. While Avalon takes place in the 1950s, it continues to be relevant and relatable in 2017.

Nowhere in Africa (2001)
Tanya George, Associate Publisher

It’s about a Jewish family who fled Germany for Kenya just before the Jews were rounded up. It’s a long, lovely story that follows their adaptation to a new land and culture as seen mostly through the eyes of their young daughter.

Ushpizin (2004)
Debbie Sann, Director of Community Affairs

It is hilarious, unpredictable and tugs at your heartstrings all at once. It embodies all of what Israel is and what makes it such a special place.

Walk on Water (2004)
Terry Grant, Senior Editor

It’s a moving and intimate portrait of a Mossad agent’s efforts to hunt down and kill an aging Nazi war criminal. The Israeli assassin is brilliantly played by broodingly handsome Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi. The film treats a serious topic with a light touch.

Everything is Illuminated (2005)
Navid Marvi, Design & Production Editor

It is a beautifully photographed journey that is dripping with color, wonder and sorrow—the perfect film to lose yourself in on a gloomy day.

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story (2012)
George E. Johnson, Senior Editor

Yonatan Netanyahu was a great and courageous military leader, as well as a poet probing the human cost of war. Without explicitly doing so, this movie makes a case for Netanyahu being the greatest Jewish hero since King David.

The Women’s Balcony (2016)
Sarah Breger, Deputy Editor

Despite a serious premise—Jerusalem women fight for respect and space in their synagogue after a new rabbi enters the picture—this is a warm-hearted comedy that handles issues such as Mizrachi-Ashkenazi relations and women in Orthodoxy with a light touch.

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2 thoughts on “Moment staff picks: Jewish Movies to Watch on a Rainy Day

  1. Anne Rolbin says:

    How about the Coen brothers A SERIOUS MAN?

  2. Brian Landberg says:

    Fiddler on the Roof is worth consideration.

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