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  • Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin mine aging for laughs in Chuck Lorre’s latest, ‘The Kominsky Method’

    (JTA) — “The Kominsky Method” is the wisest and saddest new comedy on television. That might be its biggest problem. The protagonist of the eight-episode Netflix series that debuts Friday is Sandy Kominsky (played by Michael Douglas), a Jewish Tony Award-winning actor who landed with a thud in Hollywood. He no longer acts for a…

  • Claude Lanzmann’s posthumous ‘Shoah’ sequel ‘Four Sisters’ is sadly relevant

    (JTA) — Before Steven Spielberg, there was Claude Lanzmann. Prior to the birth of what is now the USC Shoah Foundation — Spielberg’s Holocaust testimony archive, which was funded originally by the Oscar-winning director’s share of his “Schindler’s List” profits in 1994 — Lanzmann’s landmark 1985 documentary “Shoah” provided an earlier opportunity for survivors to…

  • ‘Manchester by the Sea’ director’s latest Broadway play follows a Jewish family dealing with tragedy

    (JTA) — On the phone last week, just before the revival of his play “The Waverly Gallery” opened on Broadway, Kenneth Lonergan sounded harried. There had been some set malfunctions earlier in the week, just as critics were getting ready to start their reviews. He acknowledged the play is hard to take — as much…

  • How a gay Jewish Latino playwright ended up restaging a Harvey Fierstein classic

    (JTA) — It has been more than 35 years since Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” opened on Broadway. At the time it was a theatrical revelation: Who could have imagined that the story of a young gay Jewish man’s quest for love and validation in a world that viewed him as an abomination would become…

  • ‘Fauda’ screenwriter wanted to depict terrorists as ‘real human beings’

    (JTA) — Moshe Zonder noticed it quickly: “My students are completely serious. They are writing. They are doing the assignments. All of them. It’s great teaching here.” Zonder shouldn’t be that surprised. For an aspiring screenwriter, who better to study with than the man who wrote the entire first season of “Fauda,” the controversial international…

  • In this Argentine film, a Holocaust survivor leaves home to find the man who saved him in WWII

    (JTA) — When the Argentine-Jewish filmmaker Pablo Solarz was 5 or 6 years old, he asked his grandfather if he was Polish. On the phone recently, in heavily accented English, he described his grandfather’s reaction. “He gave me a very dead face,” Solarz recalled. “My father said that [Polish] is a very bad word, and…

  • Gender nonbinary activist Kate Bornstein seeks to shatter stereotypes in Broadway’s ‘Straight White Men’

    (JTA) — The Hayes Theater in New York, currently home to the Broadway show “Straight White Men,” has just opened its doors, and Kate Bornstein is already patrolling the orchestra seating area. There’s an unusual cacophony of rap music and flashing lights in the theater during the preshow. As audience members filter in, Bornstein, a…

  • An all-female Orthodox ambulance corps gets a film of their own

    (JTA) — Like many heavily Orthodox sections of Brooklyn, Borough Park has been served for decades by an all-male volunteer ambulance corps called Hatzalah. The corps caters to a religious Jewish community with particular needs and customs — including one custom that can increase the tension for patients in already stressful emergency situations. The strict boundaries…

  • In ‘The Catcher Was a Spy,’ Paul Rudd is a Jewish baseball player turned Nazi hunter

    (JTA) — It’s rare enough for a Jewish baseball player to make it to the major leagues. A New York Jew named Moe Berg took it even a step further — he added war spy to his extraordinary resume. Berg pulled off the feat over 60 years ago. As a catcher in the majors for…

  • ‘Maktub,’ an Israeli comedy about low-level gangsters, makes it to Netflix

    (JTA) — A deadly terrorist attack might seem like an unlikely starting point for a lighthearted comedy. But “Maktub,” a charming and intelligent film that just debuted on Netflix, is set in Israel, a country where that happens more than most would like to believe. The movie was a box office success in Israel but…