Tifereth Israel Congregation
145 Brownell Ave. New Bedford, MA
(508) 997-3171
The TI Adult Education Committee Presents:
The Jewish Impact on American Comedy
in the 20th Century
Vaudeville’s Impact
What impact did the style of Vaudeville comedy have years after Vaudeville ended? Watch this short scene from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”!
And check out his clip from Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys”.
Our next two clips features the Marx Brothers from the movie "Night at the Opera".

As you watch the clips, think about the following:

Blatant Jewish imagery in Hollywood films stopped in the 1930's for the following reasons:

The movie industry was becoming highly successful, because most Americans needed "an escape" from the Depression era politics and atmosphere. The studio heads, who were all immigrant Jews, did not think Jewish stereotypes would play well in the American Heartland. Additionally, the Jewish immigrants who ran the Hollywood studios did not want to call attention to their own Jewishness, because there was an undercurrent of Antisemitism in American society. They wanted their businesses to succeed. And finally, with the rise of Hitler in Europe, the studio heads did not want to focus on Jews or Jewish issues, lest isolationist Americans think they were being pushed to fight Nazism.

That being said,what makes these clips "Jewish"?
Why do you think the Marx Brothers were so popular with American audiences of the 1930's and 1940's?

An Exception

Charlie Chaplain is credited with a major cinematic attack on Nazism with his movie "The Great Dictator". He was accused of being "a Jew" by anti-Semites. but he wasn't Jewish. However, there was one Jewish director, Ernst Lubitsch, who did take on the Nazis with his movie, "To Be or Not To Be". Click on the link below to watch the clip below. It is the only Hollywood clip of a Jewish actor, who is playing a Jewish actor, take on Hitler!
A Brief Cinema Talk On Wednesday @ 11:00am

Do you want to discuss this further?


I have set up a video conference session for Wednesday March 25 @ 11:00 am. You will receive a reminder email with the meeting link on Tuesday night. All you have to do to join the session is click on the link on Wednesday morning at 11:00!

If you have never used Zoom, it is very simple.

You will be asked if Zoom can access your camera. If you want to be seen by the group, choose yes. You will be asked if zoom can access your microphone. If you want to speak, you will choose that option. You will be asked to use internet audio and you will choose that option. Once you are in the meeting, you will have a menu bar that will allow you to mute the audio and turn off the camera. There will also be an option for
"gallery view". Choose that option to see who is in the session with you.
Stay Tuned! Rabbi Kanter, and Cantor Schudrich will be having upcoming virtual programming. And the next comedy class will be next Sunday morning.