This Week in History


"Crossing Delancey" released

September 16, 1988
Silver, Joan - still image [media]
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Joan Micklin Silver couldn't interest a Hollywood studio in doing a film about early Eastern European immigrants to New York, which would incorporate some Yiddish. So she wrote, directed and co-produced Hester Street (1975) herself.

Institution: Private collection

Joan Micklin Silver's Crossing Delancey, a Jewish-themed romantic comedy, was released in theaters on September 16, 1988. Crossing Delancey is a story of love between a professional Upper East Side woman and a pickle seller from the Lower East Side. In the movie, Silver portrays a romance that is both specifically Jewish and universally understood, which no doubt helped to account for the movie's mainstream success.

Crossing Delancey was Silver's second major Jewish-themed movie, the first being 1975's critically acclaimed Hester Street. Silver adapted Hester Street from Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella, Yekl. That movie was a personal one for Silver in many ways, as the Russian Jewish immigrant characters in the movie reflected Silver's own heritage. Every major studio turned down Hester Street, and so Silver and her husband distributed the film themselves. The movie proved to be quite successful, and helped to renew popular interest in the lives of immigrant Jews. In addition to her Jewish-themed works, Silver has directed Between the Lines (1977), Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979), Loverboy (1989), and Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even (1992). Silver's passion for directing extends both to theater and the small screen, including the television movie In the Presence of Mine Enemies (1997), which takes place in the Warsaw Ghetto.

To learn more about Joan Micklin Silver, visit Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

See also: Film Industry in the United States; We Remember Mina Bern.

Source: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia pp. 1256-1257

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - "Crossing Delancey" released." (Viewed on April 16, 2014) <>.