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


  • Bibliography
  • Filmography
  • Archival Resources
  • Film Script
  • Essays on Hasidism
  • Multimedia


    • The Spark, 28 minutes, 1974; an overview of the Lubavitch and Satmar of New York.
    • Prayer, 12 minutes, 196-; silent experimental film on Hasidic prayer.
    • Religious America: Lubavitch, 28 minutes, 1974; PBS documentary focusing on a day in the life of a Lubavitcher man, with an emphasis on ritual and lack of attention to Hasidim's interaction with outside world.
    • Ritual and Demonstrations, 42 minutes, 196-; Experimental film recording religious rituals including circumcision, opsherung (the cutting of a boy's hair at age 3), study, bar mitzvah, and festivals.
    • Eternal Light: Temptation and Start with the World, 30 minutes each, 196-; two intelligent religious programs produced by NBC.
    • Jerusalem of Heaven and Earth, 60 minutes, 198-; BBC (?) documentary on a rebbe in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem.
    • Bonjour Shalom, 50 minutes, 1991; film produced by Imageries on the Hasidic community of Montreal.
    • Hasidism in New York, 10 minutes, 198-; WABC news report on Hasidic community in Brooklyn.
    • King of Crown Heights, 60 minutes, 1993; a personal look at the Lubavitcher Hasidim by Columbia University student Roggerio Gabbai.
    • Miracle of Bobov, 10 minutes, 198-; video produced by Bobover Hasidim on the renewal of Bobover life in the United States.


    • The Return of Sarah's Daughters, 55 minutes, 1998; a film by Marcia Jarmel about women, tradition, and making sense of the modern world.
    • Trinidad in Brooklyn, 10 minutes; experimental short by Sol Rubin which juxtaposes shots of Caribbean Day Parade in Brooklyn with shots of local Hasidim.
    • A Psalm for Moshe; short feature by Robert Jacobson depicting love affair between Hasidic man and non-Orthodox Jewish woman.
    • The Quarrel, 90 minutes, 1992; feature film about a reunion between two Holocaust survivors, a Hasid and a secular Yiddish writer.
    • Memoirs of a River, 148 minutes, 1989; Hungarian feature by Judit Elek about Jewish loggers accused in a ritual murder case.
    • Volvo City, 1991; British Channel 4 film which reinforces stereotyped images of Hasidim by taking a "humorous" approach to its subject.
    • Image Before My Eyes, 90 minutes, 1980; YIVO Institute documentary on Jewish life in Poland before World War II which focuses on secular Jews.
    • In Her Own Time, 58 minutes, 1985; documentary by anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff about Orthodox Jews of Los Angeles.
    • BBC series on fundamentalism with episodes on Islam, Gush Emunim, and Baptism.
    • The Amish: Not To Be Modern; (Director of Photography, Oren Rudavsky).
    • Born Again ; documentary by Jim Ault and Michael Camerini.
    • Bronx Baptism ; documentary by DeeDee Haleck.
    • Holy Ghost People ; documentary by Peter Adair about Christian snake handling sects.
    • Powerhouse of God; documentary by Barry Dorfeld, Tom Rankin, and Jeff Titon.
    • The Shakers ; documentary by Ken Burns.


    • Cagney and Lacey: 1981 pilot episode featuring the impersonation of a Bobower Hasid by a war criminal.
    • Days and Nights of Molly Dodd: 1986 episode entitled "Here's Why Good Guys Sometimes Wear Black," depicting a love affair between Dodd and a Hasidic man.
    • The Simpsons: Episode entitled "Like Father, Like Clown," about Bart and Lisa's attempts to reunite a clown with his Hasidic rebbe father.
    • Barney Miller: 1981 episode entitled "The Riot," featuring a riot by Hasidim in lower Manhattan.
    • The Bill Cosby Show: episode from an earlier version of the Cosby Show entitled "The Saturday Game," in which a Hasidic boy joins a ball team coached by Cosby.
    • Fiddler on the Roof: 1971 feature film based on Sholom Aleichem's tales of Jewish and Hasidic life in eastern Europe.
    • The Chosen: 1978 feature film based on Chaim Potok's novel about Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.
    • Annie Hall: Woody Allen comedy which includes a scene in which Woody is transformed into a Hasidic Jew.
    • Austeria: Polish feature film about Hasidic life in Galicia during World War I.
    • A Stranger Among Us: 1992 feature film directed by Sidney Lumet about a female detective with an undercover assignment in a Hasidic neighborhood.
    • A Price Above Rubies: 1998 feature film directed by Yakim Boaz about an Hasidic woman who leaves the fold.


    • East West: 1925 silent film produced in Vienna about a visit of an American flapper to a Hasidic family in Poland.
    • Der Dybbuk: 1937 Yiddish film produced in Poland based on Hasidic legends.


    • Amateur films of Krakow and Kolbuszowa in southeastern Poland, showing Hasidic Jews engaging in everyday activities in the 1920s-30s. (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)
    • Amateur films of Warsaw in the 1930s showing Jews entering the non-Orthodox Tlomackie Synagogue (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)
    • Newsreel travelogues of Jewish life in Krakow and Lwow made in the late 1930s (National Center for Jewish Film)
    • Footage of rural Hasidic Jews in the Carpathians shot by Roman Vishniac in the 1930s (National Center for Jewish Film)
    • Silent newsreel of an Agudath Israel conference in Vienna in 1920 featuring prominent Hasidic personalities (University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library)
    • Newsreel of rebbes visiting Jerusalem in 1930s (Steven Spielberg Film Archives)
    • Newsreel outtakes of the wedding of the Munkacs Rebbe's daughter in the Carpathians in 1933, including scenes of everyday Hasidic life (National Archives)
    • March of Time newsreel of a visit by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to New York in 1925 (National Archives)
    • Amateur films of secular Jews dancing in the Bronx in the 1930s (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)
    • Holocaust footage depicting persecution of the Jews and liberation of the concentration camps (National Archives and other sources)
    • Joint Distribution Committee public relations films on Jewish life in the displaced persons camps after World War II (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)
    • Newsreels of Jewish immigrants arriving in the United States in the 1940s (CBS News Archives, Sherman Grinberg Film Library, National Archives)
    • Newsreel of mass naturalization ceremony in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1954 showing Hasidim among the new citizens (Hearst Movietonews)
    • Newsfilm of politicians visiting Hasidic neighborhoods from the 1950s-90s (CBS News Archive and Sherman Grinberg Film Library)
    • Newsfilm of preparations for Passover in Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the early 1960s (CBS News Archive and Sherman Grinberg Film Library)
    • Amateur footage of the upsharing (boy's ritual first haircut) of the Munkacs Rebbe's son in Boro Park in 1963 (Private collection)
    • Videotapes of purim plays and weddings recently produced by the Bobover, Munkacs, and Lubavitcher Hasidim
    • Promotional videotapes about Chabad Hasidism recently produced by the Lubavitcher Hasidim
    • Network news and amateur videotape of recent huge Hasidic weddings of the children of various rebbes (CBS News Archive and private collections)
    • National and local network news videotape of Crown Heights riots in 1991 (Network news archives)


    • Prewar images:
      • Portraits of Hasidic rebbes and ordinary Hasidic men and women in Poland, Russia, and other East European countries
      • Commercially produced postcards showing rebbes and entourages in spas such as Marienbad in the 1920s-30s and depicting mansions in Poland where important rebbes held court in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
      • Journalistic and documentary photographs of the gatherings of major Orthodox Jewish organizations in Vienna and Warsaw from 1919-39 and of Jewish refugees in Poland and Russia during World War I
      • Photographs by Roman Vishniac and other well-known photographers of Hasidic communities in Poland and the Carpathians in the 1930s
      • Family photographs from Eastern Europe, including intergenerational portraits of Hasidic families and snapshots
      • Rosh Hashana greeting cards produced in Europe from the late nineteenth century on which depict Jewish rituals and sometimes ironically comment on the impact of modernity on traditional Jewish life
      • Lithographs, posters, and photographs of Zionist and Socialist rallies and gatherings
      • Contemporary engravings of persons related to the history of Hasidism from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of Hasidism), the Vilna Gaon (a prominent opponent of Hasidism), and early rebbes
      • Paintings by well-known artists of historical events and eighteenth-nineteenth century Jewish ritual
      • Folk art depicting East European Jewish ritual
      • Reproductions of original documents related to the early history of Hasidism

      Holocaust and early postwar period:

      • Photographs of Nazis persecuting religious Jews by cutting off their beards and sidelocks and of Jews being rounded up for deportation to death camps
      • Photographs of the liberation of Nazi death camps
      • Drawings by survivors of their experiences during World War II
      • Photographs from displaced persons camps showing the resurgence of Jewish religious life

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