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Off-Campus Streaming Guide

Use this guide to find streaming alternatives to Media Services DVDs.

Jewish Studies

Titles Available as of July 2021

This is a selective list of streaming video holdings in the American University Library. Streaming guides are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date streaming holdings, please refer to our streaming catalog.

DOCUMENTARIES 

Between Two Worlds

Between two worlds is a groundbreaking personal exploration of the community and family divisions that are redefining American Jewish identity and politics. The filmmakers' own families are battlegrounds over loyalty to Israel, interpretations of the Holocaust, intermarriage, and a secret communist past. 

The Diary of Anne Frank

This real life diary of a young Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Holland perfectly conveys the tension, claustrophobia, and intense hardships suffered by two fugitive families. 

Down There

According to director Chantal Akerman, she never planned to make a film in Israel. She was convinced that neutrality does not exist and that her subjectivity would get in her way. She was sure she would only be able to reflect on 'the Israel question' while she was outside the country. It was only when she taught at the University of Tel Aviv, picked up a camera and "found" suitable images that she decided to make a film. Akerman spends a brief period on her own in an apartment by the sea in Tel Aviv. She takes the chamber play to its ultimate form: it is almost entirely chamber. She films from the apartment and in her narration she talks about her family, her Jewish identity and her childhood. She wonders whether normal everyday life is possible in this place and whether filming is a realistic option. Akerman does not film here with any intentions defined in advance. She wants to be as open and blank as possible to ensure that things take their own course.

The Dybbuk

The 1937 performance of Sholom Ansky's The Dybbuk is directed by Michael Waszynski. 

Essentials of Faith : Judaism 

A shared heritage, a spiritual belief system, a set of rules for living-these are all aspects of Judaism, but the order in which they are emphasized varies greatly within the faith. This program features opinions from four articulate and sometimes controversial adherents to the Jewish religion who share their views on differences and similarities within Judaism. Highlighting the impact of the Holocaust and contrasts between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions, the program participants include Rabbi and Baroness Julia Neuberger, Rabbi Barry Marcus of the Central London Synagogue, performer Uri Geller, and Jewish Museum education director Susanna Alexander.

Exile: A Myth Unearth, Part 1

The exile of the Jewish people from their homeland following the destruction of the Second Temple has long played a central role in Christian and Jewish theology, and it has been a critical issue in the struggle over land in the Middle East. This provocative documentary asks what it would mean if that exile never happened. Exile travels from Sepphoris to Masada, from Jerusalem to the catacombs of Rome, and features interviews with leading historians and archaeologists. The film points to new evidence from Galilee and elsewhere, and asks us to re-think the notion of exile--and perhaps to discover a richer and more diverse past than we had ever imagined. 

Exile: A Myth Unearthed, Part 2

The exile of the Jewish people from their homeland following the destruction of the Second Temple has long played a central role in Christian and Jewish theology, and it has been a critical issue in the struggle over land in the Middle East. This provocative documentary asks what it would mean if that exile never happened. Exile travels from Sepphoris to Masada, from Jerusalem to the catacombs of Rome, and features interviews with leading historians and archaeologists. The film points to new evidence from Galilee and elsewhere, and asks us to re-think the notion of exile--and perhaps to discover a richer and more diverse past than we had ever imagined. 

Gett

"You are hereby permitted to all men" is the very prosaic wording of the Jewish divorce document named gett, from which the name of the film is derived. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is the story of an Israeli woman struggling with the religious courts to quit her disrespectful husband. Our documentary gives unique behind-the-scenes insight, which is complemented by original footage from the film and interviews with the filmmakers Shlomi Elkabetz and Ronit Elkabetz (who also plays the leading role) as well as other crew members. It is more than a just another "making-of" film; it is an essential guide to the original movie, and it will open the discussion on archaic marriage laws in modern Israel.

A Film Unfinished

At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings of the footage. A FILM UNFINISHED presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film. A FILM UNFINISHED is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light.

The Holocaust

This programme contains 6 KS3 lesson starters on the topic of the Holocaust: 1. These rare home movies capture the personal lives of a Jewish family in Germany in the years leading up to second world war. 2. A Jewish woman, born in Germany in 1924, talks about her work as a musician in a concentration camp orchestra. 3. A short video about the Wannsee conference, where senior Nazi officials gathered in 1942 to plan for the deportation and extermination of European Jews. 4. A Jewish woman born in Germany in the 1920s remembers her brother who was executed by the Gestapo for supporting the resistance movement. 5. Set in modern day Berlin, a Jewish man who survived Nazi Germany describes his extraordinary personal experience of the second world war. 6. This short video focuses on the life of one of few British Jews who was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. 

The House on August Street

"The House On August Street" is the untold story of the filmmaker's legendary aunt Beate Berger, and the Children's home she founded in 1922 in Berlin for Jewish children in need. It is the story of her courageous decision at the early 30's to save "her" children from Nazi Germany, and the unique rescue operation she initiated and carried out, taking them out of Germany and bringing them to a new "Ahawah" home she built in Israel. It's a film about memory, hope and about a woman who understood reality around her like very few did at the time. 

The Jew in the Lotus

In 1990, eight Jewish delegates traveled to Dharamsala, India, to meet with the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet and share 'the secret of Jewish sprititual survival in exile. When writer Rodger Kamenetz was invited to go along to chronicle the event, unexpectedly, his whole life changed. Kamenetz begins an intense personal journey that leads him back to his Jewish roots. As he discovers, sometimes you have to go far away to find your way home. Inspired by Kamenetz's best selling book, award winning filmmaker Laurel Chiten's (Twitch and Shout) new documentary fills in what the book left out. Focusing on the authors' particular odyssey of suffering and the role of spirituality as a universal theme, this film touches audiences on deep emotional levels. It does not put itself forth as a definitive look at Judiasm or Buddhism but is a complete portrait of a man who is still in the process of formation. 

Kabbalah Me 

Kabbalah Me is a personal journey into the esoteric spiritual phenomenon known as Kabbalah. Throughout history, Kabbalah was studied by only the most holy Talmud scholars. The misinformation, innuendo and prohibition surrounding Kabbalah kept its wisdom from most Jews; many were even unaware of its existence. In Kabbalah Me, director Steven Bram embarks on a spiritual investigation that leads him to reunite with the Hasidic branch of his family and connect to the community of Judaic scholarship. Eventually his curiosity takes him on a pilgrimage to Israel, where he immerses himself in history and traditions of the Holy Land. Along the way, leading authorities discuss the complex, mystical world of Kabbalah - its varying interpretations and the myriad paths of its rituals and lessons. 

Les Enfants du 209 Rue Saint-Maur, Paris Xe

Focusing on an apartment building in a Jewish neighborhood in Paris, Ruth Zylberman interviews people who lived there during the German occupation of the 1940s. These people were children then, and they and their families suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

Matzo & Mistletoe

Filmmaker Kate Feiffer was six years old when her father told her she was Jewish. Since she celebrated Christmas and never attended synagogue, this information came as a surprise. In Matzo & Mistletoe, Feiffer interviews a fascinating cast of characters, and uses archival footage, illustration, and clips from television shows and movies to ponder the paradox of American secular Judaism. Matzo & Mistletoe features interviews with Ms. Feiffer. 

My Grandparents Had a Hotel

This affectionate, nostalgic film recalls the Jewish family resorts that flourished in the 1930s and 40s. Built in response to restrictive policies that excluded Jews from established resorts, Monteith Inn, in the "Canadian Catskills," enabled a Jewish clientele to experience the fun of a vacation in the country. Remember the Hollywood film "Dirty Dancing"? This is the real story of such a hotel and the pleasures of a gentler era. 

Poumy

Eloquent and witty, 92-year-old Andree "Poumy" Moreuil reflects on her adventures when, as a young Jewish mother, she joined the wartime resistance in France. Images, music, family testimony and Poumy's own narrative convey the struggle as well as the mysterious exhilaration of this experience. Poumy was born in the French-German border region of Alsace. She escaped the Nazis and saved her two sons by taking refuge in a mountain village, where instead of just hiding out she joined the French Resistance. She translated, carried messages by bike and train, spied on German troop concentrations, and brought food and supplies to hungry underground fighters in the mountains. Acting against oppression helped her transcend isolation and fear. With consummate skill the filmmaker has brought Poumy s inspiring story to life. Here was a woman who refused to be a victim, but became instead a heroic fighter for her country. DVD includes interactive features for teachers at different levels. 

Resistance 

Another of the choreographer's dances based on Holocaust themes. Dancers explore the triumphs of Holocaust victims, in a celebration of the strength of the human spirit. 

Roots and Wings: A Jewish Congregation

What does it mean to be Jewish? Too few people outside of the religion know Judaism as a living community shaped by thousands of years of a people's relationship with God and the world. This program introduces a Jewish congregation and presents the ways in which Judaism is passed on from generation to generation in a predominantly Christian society.  

The Secrets

Naomi, the brilliant and pious daughter of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, finds herself at a crossroads of life choices when her mother dies and she is expected to immediately marry her father's prodigy. Distressed yet determined, she begs that her father allow her one year to study at a women's religious seminary in Safed, the birthplace of the Kabala, in order to prepare herself for the sacrifices she will make as a wife. Her father relents, and Naomi's life begins to take an unexpected turn. Devout but lively, Naomi and her new friend Michelle befriend a beautiful, mysterious older woman, Anouk (Fanny Ardant) who may or may not be Jewish and may have committed a crime of passion. Naomi devises a series of rituals which will somehow "purify" Anouk and purge her of her sins, but as these stretch the borders of Jewish law, they must be kept secret. Eventually this journey into forbidden territory leads to a growing attraction between the two girls, and more crossroads are faced. 

Sex and the Wailing Wall: The Battle of the Sexes at the Holiest of Sites

A band of brave Jewish women is fighting back for the right to raise their voices at the Wailing Wall. The holy site is the most potent symbol for Jews. But it is dominated by the ultra-Orthodox, who seek to maintain segregation of the sexes and limit the rights of women who want to pray there. This documentary tells how a group of women is challenging the iron grip of the reactionaries and demanding reform. "We want the scroll of independence, not the Dead Sea scrolls," says Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall. Each month the ultra-Orthodox react whenever the women raise their voices in prayer. Hoffman has been arrested and is now forbidden from returning to the wall.

Six Days in June

The shooting lasted only six tense days in June 1967, but the Six Day War has never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades had its roots in these fateful days. On the 40th anniversary of the war, the region remains trapped in conflict. This war has long been seen by Israel as the miraculous victory of their "little state". . . this enclave surrounded by an "ocean" of tens of millions of Arabs from all over the Middle East. For the Arab states, this was a humiliating defeat suffered at the hand of imperialistic plotters. Our two-part film tells the true story of the Six Day War - beyond the images and propaganda clichés. 

Sukkah City

When best-selling author Joshua Foer began to build his first sukkah, a small hut that Jews build and dwell in every fall for the holiday of Sukkot, he wanted to move beyond the generic plywood boxes and canvas tents that have become the unimaginative status quo. He discovered that while the Bible outlines the basic parameters for what a sukkah should look like and how it should function, it leaves plenty of room for variation and interpretation. Foer thought, 'what if contemporary architects and designers were challenged to design and construct twelve radical sukkahs? What would they come up with?' And so was born the design competition known as Sukkah City in Union Square Park, in the heart of New York City. Chronicling the competition, the film goes behind the scenes during construction, exhibition, and judging to provide an entertaining and inspiring portrait of the project's visionary architects and structures, and an exciting, singular moment in the American Jewish experience

Tangled Roots

More than 55 years after the end of World War II, Germans and Jews still struggle with the difficult legacies of war. Filmmaker Heidi Schmidt Emberling confronts her German father and Jewish mother about the devastating secrets and painful silence about the past as she struggles to reconcile her dual identity as both a German and a Jew. Through intimate interviews with both her Jewish relatives in America and her German Lutheran relatives abroad, she discovers a rich family tapestry spanning three continents, shaped by war, courage, prejudice, and fear. Tangled Roots gives a personal voice to a rarely-heard minority, a generation of German children branded forever by their parent's actions during the war. The film also gives an original voice to the countless Jewish friends and family changed forever by the horrors of the Holocaust. Because there are few films that explore the lives of the first generation of Germans to grow up in the aftermath of World War II in Germany, Tangled Rootsbecomes a critical work in the ongoing dialogue between the Jewish and German communities. 

Unorthodox

At sixteen, Anna Wexler broke away from her Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey, rejecting its religious doctrine and social restrictions, and severing ties to her family. She ran away from home, slept on the streets, and experimented with sex and drugs alongside friends who had also left the Orthodox world. A common rite of passage for Orthodox Jews involves spending a year post-high school studying in Israel. Anna discovered that all her rebellious friends who swore off a religious lifestyle still made this pilgrimage, and each returned more committed than ever to their Jewish heritage. Anna sets out to document what transpires during this year in Israel and to discover what takes place on this journey that returns even the most rebellious teens to a lifestyle of Orthodox Judaism. This documentary follows three teens on their adventure abroad, through the eyes of Anna, who is forced to confront her own religious identity along the way. 

Using Stories the Jewish Way

There's nothing like a well-told story to draw pupils into Religious Education. Here the Jewish storytelling technique of Parades is shown in action by a Year 6 class engaging with the story of Abraham and Isaac. Laurie Rosenberg, from Simon Marks Jewish Primary School, is passionate about storytelling. His approach is to incorporate the Jewish technique of Parades, which involves breaking down a story into four dimensions: what it says, what it means, what's the story. and what is the hidden meaning. Laurie's class re-enacts the story of Abraham and Isaac as a way of investigating the four dimensions. From setting the scene, through to rehearsals and a mini-performance, the pupils engagement and captivation shows the magical power story can have. With plenty of insight and guidance from Laurie, Using stories the Jewish Way, aims to give you the confidence and know-how to try this approach out for yourself and adapt it to other stories.

A Yiddish World Remembered 

Brimming with firsthand accounts, archival films and photographs, and a powerful current of traditional klezmer and cantorial music, this program examines the Yiddish culture and society that grew out of the Jewish diaspora in Eastern Europe. Viewers are shown glimpses of daily life in the shtetl, a type of village found across the Pale of Settlement-one that may have lacked running water and electricity and suffered from poverty, overcrowding, and anti-Semitism, but one which was also a close-knit and joyous place. The film explores many aspects of that nearly vanished way of life-the fascinating Yiddish language; traditional clothing; education in the cheder, or school house; the rabbis and rebbes who often led Yiddish communities; and the powerful Jewish movements of Hasidism, Bundism, and Zionism.

Yidl in the Middle: Growing Up Jewish in Iowa

Yidl in the Middle looks at growing up "different" in America. In this evocative, entertaining film, filmmaker Marlene Booth probes her Iowa-Jewish roots. Through home movies, period photos, her high school reunion, and current interviews, she examines the complicated process of negotiating identity -- as an American, a Jew, and a woman. A compelling film, sure to provoke discussion. "This extraordinary film is not only about growing up Jewish in cornbelt America...It is universally relevant to all of us as we find our places in a world of others." Phil Brown, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, Northeastern University 

FEATURE FILMS

David

As the son of the Imam of the local Brooklyn mosque, eleven year-old Daud has to juggle the high expectations of his Father and his feelings of isolation and difference- even from his peers in the Muslim community. Through an innocent act of good faith, Daud inadvertently befriends a group of Jewish boys who mistake him as a fellow classmate at their orthodox school, in the neighboring Jewish community. A genuine friendship grows between Daud and Yoav, one of the Jewish boys, and his family. Unable to resist the joy of a camaraderie that he has never felt before, David, as he is known to the kids, is drawn into a complicated dilemma inspired by youthful deceit and the best of intentions. Winner an Audience Award for Best Feature at the **Brooklyn International Film Festival**.

Denial

This biographical drama recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt's (Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred.

Driving Miss Daisy

This adaptation of Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play stars Angela Lansbury as Daisy Werthan, James Earl Jones as her chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, and Tony Award-winner Boyd Gaines reprising his Broadway role as Daisy's son Boolie. This iconic tale of pride, changing times, and the transformative power of friendship has become one of the most beloved American stories of the late 20th-century. 

Gentleman's Agreement 

Philip Green is a highly respected writer who is recruited by a national magazine to write a series of articles on anti-Semitism in America. He's not too keen on the series, mostly because he's not sure how to tackle the subject. Then it dawns on him: if he was to pretend to all and sundry that he was Jewish, he could then experience the degree of racism and prejudice that exists and write his story from that perspective. It takes little time for him to experience bigotry. He soon learns the liberal-minded firm he works for doesn't hire Jews and that his own secretary changed her name and kept the fact that she is Jewish a secret from everyone. Green soon finds that he won't be invited to certain parties, that he cannot stay in so-called 'restricted' hotels and that his own son is called names in the street. His anger at the way he is treated also affects his relationship with Kathy Lacy, his publisher's niece and the person who suggested the series in the first place. 

Hannah Arendt

In the award-winning HANNAH ARENDT, the sublime Barbara Sukowa reteams with director Margarethe von Trotta for a brilliant new biopic of the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist. Arendt's reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker-controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils-introduced her now-famous concept of the "Banality of Evil." Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, von Trotta beautifully turns the often invisible passion for thought into immersive, dramatic cinema.

The Secrets

Naomi, the brilliant and pious daughter of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, finds herself at a crossroads of life choices when her mother dies and she is expected to immediately marry her father's prodigy. Distressed yet determined, she begs that her father allow her one year to study at a women's religious seminary in Safed, the birthplace of the Kabala, in order to prepare herself for the sacrifices she will make as a wife. Her father relents, and Naomi's life begins to take an unexpected turn. Devout but lively, Naomi and her new friend Michelle befriend a beautiful, mysterious older woman, Anouk (Fanny Ardant) who may or may not be Jewish and may have committed a crime of passion.