The Role of Artistic Creativity in the Lives of Israeli Emigres in Los Angeles

Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus: Yiddish Theater, A Love Story

Filmmaking in the United States 

In the documentary, Yiddish Theater: A Love Story (Director: Dan Katzir, 2006, Documentary Film.), Katzir and Markus record the story of the ever-rarer Yiddish theater performers in New York City. Yiddish, a language written in Hebrew script which fuses Hebrew, German, and other Slavic languages, was once spoken by over 11 million Ashkenazi Jews (Jews from Central and Eastern Europe). The Holocaust affected many Ashkenazi Jews, and as a result, Yiddish became an endangered language. With few people understanding Yiddish, the centuries old tradition of Yiddish Theater was in jeopardy of going out of business. In Yiddish Theater, Katzir and Markus follow the story of one elderly Jewish woman, Zipporah Spaisman, and her quest to save her Yiddish theater. Taking place during the eight days of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, Yiddish Theater is similar to Out for Love, Be Back Shortly in that it tells a personal story, that of Zipporah Spaisman, and extrapolates it to a broader theme, being an artist longing for a larger audience. Yiddish Theater is a markedly Jewish documentary because Judaism plays a prominent role throughout the film, not only due to its Yiddish topic, but moreover, because the entire film occurs concurrently with the eight days of Hanukkah, and culminates in a miracle, just like Hanukkah. Although Katzir and Markus once again utilized a personal story to tell a larger story, based on the central theme of Yiddish and the use of Hanukah, it is apparent that, after their immigration to the United States, Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus’s art became noticeably more Jewish.

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