a documentary film about Jewish women comedians, showcases Sophie Tucker, Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein, all of whom defied cultural expectations, changed the rules, and made us laugh. Look for contemporary Jewish women in comedy Judy Gold, Cory Kahaney, Jackie Hoffman and Jessica Kirson gabbing, over pickles and corned beef in a scene shot in Katz’s Deli in New York, about their work, their lives, and the trailblazers who came before them. makingtrouble.com
His Wife’s Lover (Zayn Vaybs Lubovnik)
is billed as the “first Jewish musical comedy talking picture.” In this 1931 Yiddish-language feature, script writer Sheyne Rokhl Simkoff revels in role reversals and love triangles while exploring the gender issues of her day. In the end, the lovers — a poor shop-girl and a handsome actor — triumph over deceptions and mistaken identities. The newly restored film is available from The National Center for Jewish Film, the Waltham, MA nonprofit motion picture archive that houses the largest collection of Jewish-theme films outside Israel. (USA, 80 minutes) jewishfilm.org
Did your holocaust survivor parents tell you about their experiences?
A feature-length documentary film about children and grandchildren of survivors will contrast growing up with parents who are/were active storytellers and with those who did not tell their children much about what happened to them during the war. The film will also explore how children are taking care of their aging survivor parents and grandparents. This independently-funded film is intended for use as a teaching tool in schools, community groups, and museums. To participate or learn more, contact filmmaker Michelle Kaffko, brownfinchfilms@ gmail.com, cell 312-952-5911.
Girls are labeled bitches if they have any kind of fighting spirit,
says Shirley Manson, of the rock group Garbage. She reveals her own story in the film “Cut: Teens and Self-Injury.” Created by Wendy Schneider, this film provides an intimate look at a largely unacknowledged problem that afflicts thousands of young people. Using the words, music and artwork of the teens themselves along with commentary from parents and mental health professionals, Schneider exposes the sensationalism and secrecy surrounding the cycle of self-injury. cutthemovie.com
The names recovery project
aims to memorialize each individual Jew who perished in the Holocaust by recording their names, biographical details and photographs on Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. You can search the online central database at yadvashem.org for victims whose names you know; if the victim is not found fill out a Page of Testimony. You can also find out about and join a group organizing this recovery effort in your area at yadvashem.org/names/Partners.htm.
My Nose: An intimate look at a mother-daughter rhinoplasty conflict
What do you do when you think you look good, and your mother is convinced that what you really need is a nose job? In this humorous/serious 13-minute autobiographical documentary, filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum explores the complex relationship of a meddling mother and her unmarried daughter who is determined to live happily ever after — even in a beauty-obsessed world — with her original, imperfect nose. kirschenbaumproducitons.com/mynose
The womens prayer section.
Ezrat Nashim, an installation by Miriam Stern, addresses themes of separateness, prayer and feminism symbolized by the partition or mehitza that sets women apart from men in Orthodox synagogues. Flat sculptures of larger than life-size female figures include on one side a self portrait of the artist and images of nine of her friends; on the other side their silhouettes are overlaid with photos of lace, wire, and other materials typically used to create these partitions. A sound component features a group of women quietly singing the Hallel service, recited on the new month and other holidays. Through January 13, 2008 at Yeshiva University Museum in New York City. yumuseum.org
The bedtime sh’ma: A good night CD
is an audio companion to the eponymous book written by Sarah Gershman and illustrated by Kristian Swarner. The picture book and CD focus on themes of protection and preparing for sleep and help make bedtime for children under six a Jewish experience. The full original Hebrew bedtime liturgy appears in the back of the book with a slightly abbreviated and gender-neutral English translation. The soothing and hypnotic lullaby/prayers, all sung in Hebrew to melodies from various Jewish musical traditions, are arranged by vocalist Rabbi Julia Andelman and guitarist Benjamin Dreyfus with additional vocals by 10-year-old Ronit Morris. ekspublishing.com (510-251-9100)
Resources for Ashkenazi women at risk for hereditary ovarian cancer.
People of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent are more likely than others to carry a genetic mutation that increases the risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Approximately one out of 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent will carry a cancer-causing mutation, which can be inherited from either the mother or the father.
• More information at ovariancancer.org.
• Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), a partner member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, serves women with increased risk of cancer. Visit facingourrisk.org.
• The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has useful resources including Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk: It’s Your Choice, at cancer.gov/cancertopics/Genetic-Testing-for-Breast-and-Ovarian-Cancer-Risk.
Your complicated relationship with your father
Perhaps you have something to contribute to “Jewish Feminists and Our Fathers: Reflections Across Gender and Generations,” the special Spring 2009 issue of Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal (bridgesjournal.org). Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, reviews and websites or black and white art need to be received by July 15, 2008. Query first to guest editors Rebecca Alpert (email@example.com) and Laura Levitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jewish women in the former Soviet Union
For over 30 years, photographer Joan Roth has been documenting the lives of women who, through the efforts of Project Kesher (projectkesher.org), have taken on activism and human rights advocacy on breast cancer, family violence awareness, and more, while also engaging — most for the first time — in Jewish learning. This photo essay/exhibit illustrates a slice of rich Jewish feminist history and the strength, voice and pride of communities almost silenced by 70 years of systematic religious oppression and anti-Semitism. Through January 25. At HUCJIR Museum, 1 West 4th Street. huc.jir.edu