Outtakes

Click on the links below to watch outtakes of footage from THE JEWISH AMERICANS.

Comedian Sid Caesar recalls a humorous story from his youth about how a rabbi dealt with mice in the synagogue.   Cartoonist and playwright Jules Feiffer remembers comedian Lenny Bruce’s brilliance, complexity and importance. In one part, Feiffer says that he could not have written "Carnal Knowledge" without Lenny Bruce's influence. He also says referring to Bruce, “At his best, he was an authentic genius.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses why so many Jews went into law – partially because of their "obigation to reason why" as well as their interest in the pursuit of justice.   Playwright Tony Kushner describes what it was like growing up in a place where homosexuality was not acceptable. To him, Judaism provided a framework that enabled him to accept himself and to be proud again.

Actor/singer Mandy Patinkin talks about the vital legacy of the Yiddish Theater, and he explains how singing Jewish music has brought joy to him and others around the world. For him, it is a connection to the past.   Comedian Carl Reiner tells a moving and at times hilarious story about preparing for his bar mitzvah and his memory of that big day in his life. He also recalls the little tenement shuls on the Lower East Side.

Comedian Carl Reiner remembers being a GI in the war and being approached by a racist in his barracks about why Reiner had been in conversation with one of the black soldiers. The racist also wanted to know how Reiner felt about sharing a latrine with the black soldiers. Invoking the name of Paul Robeson, Reiner somehow managed to stand up to the bigot while avoiding a fistfight. What ensued is both poignant and hilarious, as only Carl Reiner can tell. The story also provides an insight into what the black soldiers had to face.   Author Letty Cottin Pogrebin talks about her mixed emotions the moment she, at age 53, saw the inside of a Torah for the first time, just as “men have looked at for thousands of years.”

Playwright Alfred Uhry recalls the first time he visited Israel. It was 1993, and he remembers feeling an overwhelming sense of pride. That trip inspired him to write a play called “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.”   This clip illustrates how Jews retell ancient Jewish stories for modern audiences.

Rabbi Gil Marks explains how the Jewish experience and traditions have created a unique table.