Real Americans: The Evolving Identities of American Jews

By Sylvia Barack Fishman

Jewish Media Fund, 1996

The author explores American Jewish life over the past century, using film as a prism through which to view social change. The author argues that the films described- including Fiddler on the Roof (1971), Mirele Efros (1939), The Jazz Singer (1927), The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), and Avalon (1990)- provide varying perspectives on the nature of Jewish identity and the ways in which Jewish identities have been shaped by the encounter between traditional and modern values. The author argues that the films described depict generations of Jews- first in Europe and later in America- grappling with the question of what it means to be a Jew in the larger society, exploring the tensions and conflicts experienced by American Jews as they seek to reconcile the traditions of the Old World with the attractions and challenges of the New.

Topic: Movies, Immigration, Jewish Identification, Film, Assimilation

Name of Publication: Jewish Heritage Video Collection

Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Fishman, Sylvia Barack. Real Americans: The Evolving Identities of American Jews. Jewish Heritage Video Collection. Jewish Media Fund. 1996:


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