This hilarious HBO executive picks her 5 favorite Jewish documentaries

Posted on August 21st, 2017
By Gabe Friedman for JTA

Sheila Nevins may not be a household name, but she is a legend in the documentary film world.

Since taking over HBO’s documentary division in 1979, the network’s documentaries have won 26 Academy Awards. In that same period, as a producer, she has won 32 Primetime Emmy Awards and 34 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Along the way, Nevins has worked on plenty of projects with Jewish themes, touching on subjects that range from Daniel Pearl to the Holocaust. Some of these, Nevins told JTA, influenced her beyond the professional realm, helping her connect with her Jewish identity in a way that her mostly secular upbringing did not.

“I feel Jewish and I feel proud of it, and I feel separated from it simultaneously,” said Nevins, who grew up in New York. “I wish that I could go back again and go to the Sunday school with all those cute boys my mother wouldn’t let me go to.”

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The Summer That Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill Took Over Mainstream Comedy

Posted on August 14th, 2017

How this fan became an instant follower of the Apatow-Rogen-Hill religion.

In history books, the summer of 2007 will go down as the official start of one of the worst financial crises in American history. It started in July, when Bear Stearns announced that two of its hedge funds had lost all their value — and from there, as we know, panic, chaos and lots of mortgage defaults ensued.

But to my 15-year-old self — and to thousands of other teenage boys of my generation — the summer of 2007 will be remembered for an entirely different reason: It was a season when a few funny, schlubby Jews took over the world of mainstream comedy.

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Three Camp Ramah Alums Now Have Leading Roles on Broadway. What’s in the Bug Juice?

Posted on August 7th, 2017
By Gabriela Geselowitz for Tablet Magazine  

Turns out that singing in Hebrew in front of your peers may be the ticket to superstardom

What is it about Camp Ramah?

Specifically, what is it about Camp Ramah’s theater program? A bunch of Jewish teens performing simplified Hebrew translations of classic musicals can apparently lead to the Great White Way. And this isn’t about a lone example— there is soon to be three different Camp Ramah alumni on Broadway at the same time— all of them in leading roles.

For one, Caissie Levy (Ramah Canada) is set to belt “Let It Go” as Elsa in Frozen starting in the spring. Ethan Slater (Ramah New England) is getting his big break as the titular character in the stage adaptation of Spongebob Squarepants this November (yes, it’s actually supposed to be good). And if Tony winner Ben Platt (Ramah California) is still starring in Dear Evan Hansen several months from now, that will be three Ramahniks at once. So what gives? What’s in the water, or bug juice, or whatever the heck it is they drink at Camp Ramah?

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Shalom, Bollywood: Resurrecting the Jewish heritage of Hindi cinema

Posted on July 31st, 2017
Roshni Nair for the HindustanTimes

An Australian professor, Danny Ben-Moshe, is working on a documentary on the forgotten Indian Jews who left their mark on the world’s largest film industry

In February 2006, Florence Ezekiel Nadira died in a Mumbai hospital. That same week, thousands of miles away in Melbourne, Danny Ben-Moshe chanced upon her obituary. The interest it sparked would drive an 11-year search and culminate in a documentary on Hindi cinema’s once-lauded — and since forgotten — Jewish celebrities.

Ben-Moshe, an adjunct professor at Melbourne’s Deakin University, is also a documentary filmmaker and recipient of the Walkley Award, Australia’s top prize for documentaries. For his current baby, Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema, he’s seeking $20,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on

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Mazal Tov to the First Female Dr. Who! Your Next Mission: Save British Jews

Posted on July 24th, 2017
By Liel Leibovitz for Tablet Magazine  

The iconic TV show was created by a Jew in part as a meditation on the sort of anti-Semitism that now sweeps Britain

Like nerds the world over, I was delighted to learn this weekend that the role of Doctor Who will soon be played, for the first time in the show’s history, by a woman. In case you’ve somehow missed the iconic show’s 36 seasons, you should know that this is a very big deal: the Doctor is a Time Lord, a merciful being who hops across space and time and keeps the universe safe from no-goodniks, occasionally slipping into a new body and a new personality whenever a new actor is ready for the challenge. Twelve have assumed the role so far; all have been men. And now comes, Jodie Whittaker, a fine British actress.

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey,” Whittaker said in a statement. “It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

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