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Film

Hebrew Theater: Yishuv to the Present

From its beginnings early in the twentieth century, Hebrew theater was the province of men. With the exception of a few trailblazers such as Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, who translated and produced plays, it was not until the 1980s that women writers and directors began to work in the Israeli theater. Of all the theatrical professions, only actresses had truly been partners in the enterprise of reviving Hebrew culture. It is therefore appropriate to begin with several of the most important of these and to go on from there to playwrights and directors.

Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza was born on November 19, 1957 in the Hatikvah quarter of Tel Aviv to parents who had immigrated from Yemen with their eight sons and daughters. Her mother, already a singer in Yemen, would often perform at family celebrations. Haza herself sang from an early age and was a soloist in her local school choir.

Vera Gordon

After her star-making turn in the 1920 film Humoresque, actor Vera Gordon came to represent the archetypical Jewish mother, both on-screen and off. She played mother roles in almost thirty films, including The Millionaires (1926), Four Walls (1928), and the successful The Cohens and the Kellys series.

Jennie Goldstein

Jennie Goldstein was one of the foremost Yiddish theater tragediennes, beloved by the public and acclaimed by critics for her ability to make audiences cry and for her outstanding voice.

Therese Giehse

Therese Giehse, who was far from possessing contemporary ideals of beauty, pursued her desire to be an actress with diligence and dedication.

Rose Franken

Rose Dorothy Lewin Franken was a celebrated Broadway playwright and director, a Hollywood screenwriter and a popular novelist whose fiction touched a sympathetic chord in American women.

Filmmakers, Independent North American

Since the start of the independent movement, American Jews have contributed their share of self-reflective and identity-based work in film and video, and in genres that have ranged from traditional narrative to the most experimental of documentaries. Female Jewish directors have made significant contributions.

Sylvia Fine

Contemporary commentators often ascribed much of entertainer Danny Kaye’s success to his having a “Fine” head on his shoulders. Publicly, his wife Sylvia Fine’s coruscating lyrics supported Danny’s zaniness in such films as Up in Arms (1944), Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), and On the Riviera (1951).

Filmmakers, Israeli

Women filmmakers who have made a significant contribution to Israeli film, in both the narrative and documentary film genres, have added a particularly feminist perspective to Israeli filmmaking.

Filmmakers, Independent European

One can perceive the body of work created by women filmmakers in Europe as a testament to the efforts of Jews to re-calibrate community and family in the years following the traumas of World War II. One can confidently look forward to new works by women film artists that reflect the reality of the lives of Jews in Europe today.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Film." (Viewed on April 28, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/film>.

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