Українсько-єврейські культурні відносини: долаючи стереотипи Ірина Овдій режисер і сценарист, колишня голова відділу зв’язків кіностудії ім.. О.Довженка

November 23, 2002

У суботу, 23 листопада, відбулася цікава доповідь про українських євреїв та їх внесок у розвиток української та світової культури.

Проф. Тарас Гунчак
представляє доповідачку
Ірина Овдій,
режисер і сценарист

Під час доповіді п. Ірина Овдій показала фільм Абрама Роома “Євреї на Землі” (1927 р.) з колекції фільмів інституту Юдаїки (Київ) про переселення євреїв на Кримський півострів, де вони змушені були організовувати сільські господарства, а в період створення колгоспів їх спіткала така ж сама доля, як українських хліборобів. Розповіла про роботу над створенням нового документального фільму про всесвітньо відомого письменника Шолома Алейхема.

Під час доповіді Показ фільму Абрама Роома
“Євреї на Землі” (1927 р)

З коротким словом про роботу над документальним фільмом про Шолома Алейхема виступив Йозеф Дорман, директор і продюсер фільму.

Йозеф Дорман, режисер

Учасники доповіді мали можливість переглянути багато цікавих фотокарточок про єврейські історичні та пам’ятні місця в Україні.

Каріна та Юрій Тарнавські Пані Ґеруляк розглядає буклет “Єврейські адреси Києва”

Д-р Григорій Хоменко

Після доповіді, проф. Тарас Гунчак надав слово проректорові Дипломатичної академії України д-ру Григорію Хоменку, який розповів про роботу академії та розбудову дипломатичної служби України.

* * * * *

Presentation by Iryna Ovdiy
Короткий зміст доповіді Ірини Овдій.

My recent work on a documentary about Sholem Aleichem allowed me momentary access to the boundless Jewish heritage Ukraine harbors. I came upon old cemeteries, shtetls, synagogues and other remnants of Ukrainian Jewish life. I discovered individuals who are dedicating their lives to the preservation of this Jewish cultural legacy. In my talk I will share my recent experience among these places and people. And as an example of the riches of Ukraine’s Jewish culture, I’ll show a silent film “Jews on the Land” made in 1927 by Abram Room, which documents an early Soviet Jewish collective farm

Laughter and Trembling
The Life and Work of Sholem Aleichem.
A Ninety-Minute Documentary Film

Laughter and Trembling presents the story of one of the most important “culture heroes” of East European Jewry in the modern era: the Yiddish writer known to his readers as Sholem Aleichem, who is now most widely familiar as the author of the stories that formed the basis of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Through the story of his life and work, this film provides viewers with a compelling introduction to the experiences and creativity of East European Jews during the fervent decades before the Holocaust—an era that forged the basis of modern Jewish politics, culture, and identity, shaping much of Jewish life up to the present.

Український краєвид.
Знімається фільм

In addition to planned theatrical release and airing on national public television, the producers of Laughter and Trembling will present the documentary at community screening-and-discussion sessions held across the United States in schools, Jewish community centers, Hillels and other college campus Jewish organizations, and at Jewish film festivals. Through this experience we hope to deepen the historical awareness of Americans Jews of all generations and enrich their sense of Jewish cultural heritage embodied by this remarkable figure of modern Jewish culture.

Шолома Алейхема
у м. Переяславі-Хмельницьком
Тут жив великий письменник
Шолом Алейхем

The Documentary

Laughter and Trembling will be the first full-length documentary-film portrait of the life, work, and legacy of the most popular and influential Yiddish writer of modern times. Born in a small town in Ukraine in 1859, Sholem ben Menakhem Nokhem Rabinowitz would become known to millions of readers across Europe, in the Americas, and beyond as Sholem Aleichem—the pen-name he adopted early in his career. In the final decades of the nineteenth century, Sh
olem Aleichem emerged as one of the most influential literary voices among East European Jews and a leading advocate for promoting Yiddish—then the traditional vernacular of this community of some 5,000,000 people—as a modern literary and cultural language. During the nine decades since his death in 1916, Sholem Aleichem’s reputation as the embodiment of Old-World Jewish life has flourished on an international scale. Four generations of Jews born since his death have turned to this literary figure as “their” writer. His literary works have served them as a key to understanding a cultural heritage that has become synonymous with his name—the “world” of Sholem Aleichem. Through this film, we hope to document this unique relationship between a writer and his public and to extend it into the twenty-first century.

Барельєф і пам’ятна дошка на будинку де жив Шолом Алейхем у м. Києві Пам’ятник Шолому Алейхему
у м. Києві

Sholem Aleichem’s career coincided with a time of unprecedented cultural and political upheaval in the East European Jewish world – a period that literary scholar Benjamin Harshav has termed the “modern Jewish revolution,” because of its far-reaching impact on modern Jewry. Through his stories, monologues, novels, plays, and essays Sholem Aleichem portrayed East European Jewry’s abrupt, often explosive, confrontation with modernity. His great feat was to explore this often tragic process of upheaval and dislocation. through humor, creating a world, according to Saul Bellow, filled with “laughter and trembling.” Sholem Aleichem’s best known literary creations are three characters, each of whom appeared in serialized works written over a period of years. His most famous character, Tevye, appears in a series of monologues in which the rural dairyman recounts the romantic exploits of his daughters, each of which epitomizes a struggle with another aspect of modernity from the assault on traditional parental authority to the rise of revolutionary politics to the threat of intermarriage and assimilation . With another recurring character, Menachem-Mendl, Sholem Aleichem created an itinerant speculator, who embarks on a series of impractical “get-rich-quick” schemes. His buoyant letters home to his wife, outlining one failed plan after another, provide a lens through which to view the impact of rapidly changing social and economic conditions on traditional East European Jewish society. With his last major creation, Motl, the cantor’s son, Sholem Aleichem traced the Jewish community’s mass movement from the small towns of Eastern Europe to the immigrant enclaves of New York. Through the eyes of this young orphan, the author portrays the dissolution of a centuries-old way of life as well as the dizzying challenges and opportunities posed by the newness of America.

Laughter and Trembling will chronicle the creation of these and Sholem Aleichem’s other literary achievements as it considers the author’s life in its larger context: the rise of modern Jewish national identities, the response of East European Jewry against anti-Semitism, Jewish engagement with modern political and cultural ideas, emigration, war and revolution.

Through the story of Sholem Aleichem’s life and career, the film will reveal the complex figure behind this popular author, who was, among other things, an early supporter of the Zionist movement, a correspondent with Tolstoy and Chekhov, and an ardent fan of Charlie Chaplin films. The documentary will also explore the less familiar aspects of Sholem Aleichem’s biography, including his two visits to the United States, where he tried, with little success, to establish himself as a fixture of the American Yiddish theater and press. We will also focus in on Sholem Aleichem’s funeral in New York City. Attended by an estimated 200,000 people, it was the largest such event the city had ever witnessed. The huge procession, which stretched from the author’s home in the Bronx through Manhattan and into Brooklyn, became not only a commemoration of the author’s life, but an opportunity for the young Jewish community to announce its coming of age to the American public. It marked a watershed in immigrant Jewish public culture.

Finally, Laughter and Trembling will examine the ongoing relationship between Sholem Aleichem and succeeding generations of his devotees. The film will visit the author’s former home in Ukraine, where there is now a museum honoring him, as well as Tel Aviv, where the Sholem Aleichem House was established in the 1960s, and the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. Viewers will see how generations of Jews connect to Sholem Aleichem through plays, films, musical compositions, works of art, and translations of his work. While the film explore the impact of the popular Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof” (based on the Tevye stories), which epitomizes the American relationship to Sholem Aleichem in the post-World War II era, it will also present less familiar examples. Vintage Soviet films and American and Israeli telecasts of works by and about the writer will be included. Scenes of students learning to read Sholem Aleichem in the original Yiddish across the United States, throughout Europe, and in Israel will reveal the fervent engagement of new generations with the writer.

Laughter and Trembling, features interviews with author Bel Kaufman, Sholem Aleichem’s granddaughter and his last surviving relative to have known him directly, as well as leading scholars of Yiddish literature and Jewish history, including Benjamin Harshav, Dan Miron, Avram Nowersztern, David Roskies, Michael Stanislawski, and Ruth Wisse. The film also presents the voices of young students from America and abroad who are studying the works of Sholem Aleichem in the original Yiddish, discussing the unique appeal of the author and his work. Other interviews will include Bess Myerson (who grew up in the Sholem Aleichem Houses, a cooperative apartment complex in the Bronx, and attended a Sholem Aleichem Yiddish school), Aaron Lansky (founder of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst), and Sheldon Harnick (one of the creators of “Fiddler on the Roof”). The film will also feature many vintage images and of Sholem Aleichem, his family and colleagues, as well as rare sound recordings made by the author.

Д-р Василь Маркусь Микола Галів, д-р Григорій Хоменко, Василь Никифорук

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Ірина Овдій і Михайло Пилипюк,
цікава дискусія
Єврейські адреси Києва