Film Shul – Jews & The Movies

November 29, 2022    
8:30 pm

FilmShul is an informative, engaging and fun presentation on Hollywood and the Jewish American Experience, curated by noted film historians Irv Slifkin and Laurence Lerman and specifically designed for Zoom interactivity. They are a pair of nice, middle-aged Jewish guys who write, review and talk about movies a whole helluva lot, have been professional colleagues and friends for nearly 30 years. They’re a pair of “Movie Mensches.”

​The role of FilmShul is to reflect on and relate to the American Jewish experience so audiences will be informed and entertained, and recognize the valuable contributions made by entertainment innovators of the Jewish faith. 



Super Funny Jewish Men
Tuesday, November 29, 2022  |   8:30pm
Quick with one-liners! Precise with physical comedy! Able to tell hilarious stories in a single routine!  Look!  Up on the stage! It’s a funny Jewish man! Actually, there have been a lot of them out there making us laugh over the years, spanning the decades from vaudeville, radio, the Borscht Belt and nightclubs through TV, records, movies and beyond.  Meet the greatest and latest in the business, including Jack Benny, George Burns, Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, Don Rickles, Jack E. Leonard, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny Bruce, Mel & Woody and such contemporary voices as Albert Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Gilbert Gottfried, Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen and, yes, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky. All are pioneers, all are distinctive, and all are seriously funny.

From the Catskills with Love
Thursday, January 12, 2023   |   8:30pm
The now mostly shuttered summer resorts of Southeastern New York’s Catskill Mountains—Grossinger’s, Kutsher’s, the Raleigh, the Concord, the Pines and others—provided the formative years for many prominent Jewish comedy stars for a number of decades up through the 1970s. Discover the origins of the region that came to be known as the Borscht Belt and how such youngsters as Woody Allen, Shelley Berman, Totie Fields, Milton Berle, Jack E. Leonard, Joan Rivers, Jerry Lewis, Betty Garrett, Danny Kaye and Myron Cohen left their audiences in stitches. Plus, we take a look at the movies inspired by the “Jewish Alps.”      

WWII and Hollywood’s Jewish Question
Thursday, February 2, 2023   |   8:30pm
The Production Code in 1934, the Great Depression, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and a general growth in anti-Semitism didn’t bode well for the Hollywood studio moguls, Jewish men like Louis B. Mayer, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner and others who virtually created Hollywood. The moguls tried to ignore the rise of Nazism but that could only go so far, even as they continued distributing films in Germany up until the war broke out and not making an anti-Nazi film until 1940. With World War II & Hollywood’s Jewish Question, we look at how the Jewish moguls reacted–and failed to react–to what was happening in Europe in the 1930s, and how they proceeded through the war and its subsequent years.