A Life Apart - Hasidism in America Image Loading...

  • Film Credits
  • Producers
  • Resumes of Project Personnel
  • Key Personnel and Advisors
            - Principal Participants
            - Humanities Advisors
  • Website Credits

    Menachem Daum, Project Co-Director and Producer, has a Phd. in Education from Fordham University. For over a dozen years Dr. Daum was Research Director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College. His oral history project among elderly Holocaust survivors in New York impressed upon him the wealth of historical and anecdotal knowledge within the Hasidic community, and inspired his published essay Preserving the Spiritual Legacy of the Holocaust. He has been producing videos within the Hasidic community for the last six years. These have ranged from fundraising and promotional videos for various Hasidic sects to documentation of weddings, special holiday programs, and special events for women in the community. In 1988, he produced the Emmy-nominated film In Care Of, hosted by Hugh Downs. This documentary explored the ethical and practical dilemmas raised when an elderly person becomes impaired. He recently produced Stay Tuned: The Challenge of Hearing Loss with a grant from the National Institute for Health and will be distributed among self-help groups nation-wide.

    Oren Rudavsky, Project Co-Director and the film's Director and Co-Producer, is a graduate of Oberlin College. He has been producing and directing films since 1980. His first documentaries were made in Ohio and were funded in part by the Ohio Humanities Council and the Ohio Arts Council. The subjects of Mr. Rudavsky's films has ranged from mental illness to race relations, the Amish, Jews in Eastern Europe today to a portrait of the life of modern day nuns in two communities in the United States. Dreams So Real, a film about three mentally ill men who created their own animated films won first prize at the New England Film Festival. Several films have been broadcast on PBS including Spark Among the Ashes: A Bar Mitzvah in Poland (1987), Theater of the Palms: The World of Puppet Master Lee Tien Lu (1990) and as Director of Photography, The Amish: Not to be Modern in every year from 1986 to the present. (The Amish has been one of the most popular independent documentaries ever broadcast on PBS.) Spark Among the Ashes won many awards including second prize at the Chicago International Film Festival, a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and inclusion in the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. At the Crossroads: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Today, was broadcast on the Discovery Network. Two other films about Jewish life in America have been nationally broadcast on ABC: Ritual, a documentary about Jewish ritual incorporating scholarly commentary with portraits of individuals, and an original drama he wrote, Saying Kaddish, which was nominated for an Emmy in Directing and was rebroadcast on PBS in May of 1993. Other work includes Riding the Rails, a segment about a modern day hobo for ABC's PrimeTime Live, which won a Teddy Award, Picture Perfect, a segment about a small Missouri town also for ABC's PrimeTime Live A Different Path a one hour documentary about modern day Catholic Sisters for broadcast on ABC in 1996, and Director of Photography on the popular MTV series The Real World (reviews included in the appendix)

    Arnold Labaton, Executive Producer, is an award winning producer and executive producer, with over thirty years experience in television, twenty five of those years spent in public television. He was head of all program production at WNET/13 until mid 1991. He is currently executive producing a series on the rise and fall of communism and Independent Minds, a program about the world of the New York Intellectuals, funded by the NEH. Recently he was an editorial consultant for Abba Eban's five part history of Israel, A Nation is Born. He was also Executive Director of PBS' Election 92 coverage of the Presidential Election. Among his many other production credits, he was executive producer of the series Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, broadcast on PBS in the fall of 1984.

    Robert Seidman, Scriptwriter, is a screenwriter and novelist who is currently Director of the "Cultural Foundations Project" at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Mr. Seidman has written scripts for a number of feature and documentary films including Waiting For Becket: The Work and Life of Samuel Becket and Margaret Mead: An Observer Observed. (Both of these films received funding from the NEH.) Seidman also wrote In Our Time, the final show of the nine-part series The Art of the Western World. He is writing a two hour documentary on the newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.

    Roberta Newman is a writer, researcher, curator, and media producer specializing in Jewish culture and history. From 1988-92, she was Curator of Photographs and Films at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, where she was in charge of the world's foremost collection of images related to the history of Eastern European Jews. More recently, she has served as a researcher/consultant to many documentary films, museum exhibitions, and history books, such as the PBS Great Performances program, In the Fiddler's House (1995), and the Chicago Historical Society exhibition Becoming American Women (1994). Ms. Newman is the Associate Curator and Videotape Producer of the traveling exhibition, Remembering Libivne: The Jewish Community of Luboml (1997). Currently, she is writing and producing multimedia presentations for Thirteen/WNET's DVD-ROM version of Heritage: Civilization and the Jews.

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