“Who are We? Exploring Judaism Through the Lenses of Israeli and American-Jewish Film and Text”


Choose two of the six numbers in the list of Israeli and Jewish-American films below, and their accompanying Jewish texts, which we studied over the course of the semester. In an essay approximately two typed pages in length, please explore the following questions: 

  • What did you learn about the films? What did you learn about the texts? 
  • Why do you think they were paired with one another; what are some of the important connections between the films and the texts? 
  • What aspects of our course’s themes—religion, women, and/or family—do both the films and the texts express and examine? 
  • How do the Jewish texts—be they biblical, liturgical, or modern—complement the films’ themes? 
  • What are the most effective cinematic techniques used in the films that you chose, and why do you think they have such an impact? 
  • What conclusions can you draw about Jewish culture, identity, and our traditions and values—Israeli and/or American—from the films and texts that you’ve chosen? 

Please choose two numbers from the following list of films and texts, and base your analysis of them on both our class discussions and your own, original observations:

  1. Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust (by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky) and Torah passages on being made in God’s image and commemorative brachot from the Siddur
  2. Walking the Bible–Go Forth: From Creation to Abraham (by Bruce Feiler) and readings from Beresheit (Noah), the Gilgamesh Epic (ancient Near East Flood myth), and Rabbi Neil Gillman’s Sacred Fragments (on Jewish “myths” of origin)
  3. Romi and Jerusalem (by Omri Levy and Galit Klapfer) and Elia’s Treasure (by Nimrod Shanit) and selection of Yehuda Amichai poetry
  4. Jacob’s Wall (by Daniel Sivan), Beitar Al-Quds (by Eilat Feller), and Beralah, Beraleh (by Yehudah Gervais) and personal reflections upon your in-class, peer  “Think, Pair, Share” exercises
  5. UNSETTLED (by Adam Hootnick) and selection of Tanakh passages on traditional Jewish claims to the Land of Israel
  6. Channels of Rage: 1 Land 2 Rappers, Can Music Resolve the Conflict? (by Anat Halachmi) and selection of philosophical texts on Israel, Zionism, and religion


Click here to answer the question.