Leon Uris

Standing Again At Sinai, This Time With Facebook

06/22/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

In recent weeks, the Jewish blogosphere has been in a state of collective shpilkas. Even before the flotilla incident, Jews in America and Israel were hotly debating two essays, Danny Gordis’ “The Storm Ahead” in the Jerusalem Post and Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in The New York Review of Books.

Changing Images Muddy Picture Of Zionism, Israel

For young American Jews, it’s a long way from ‘Exodus’ to the separation wall.

05/26/2010
Staff Writer

 In 1960, the film “Exodus” was nominated for three Academy Awards. Based on Leon Uris’ novel about the founding of Israel, it seems hard to believe that such a film, drenched in Jewish military heroism and suffused with Holocaust imagery and Arab aggression, could have such broad and unambiguous appeal. But it did. It not only won an Oscar, it also starred a Hollywood icon, Paul Newman, as the heroic Jewish fighter, and even made a commendable showing at Cannes.

But almost a half-century later, a very different film about Israel won an Oscar nomination. “Waltz With Bashir,” (2008) directed by the Israeli Ari Folman, put a spotlight on the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps during the first Lebanon War.  

Two images of Israel, two generations: “Exodus” and “Waltz with Bashir.”

The Restraint Of Otto Preminger

12/26/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

At the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Markus Preminger, a brilliant young lawyer, was offered the position of chief prosecutor, an honor never bestowed on a Jewish attorney. There was only one catch: he had to convert to Catholicism. He refused but got the appointment anyway.

Two decades later, his soon-to-be-famous son, Otto Preminger, was offered the post of head of the Vienna State Theater, as prestigious in its field as the chief prosecutor’s job was in his father’s. Same catch: he had to convert to Catholicism.

From The Soviet Union To Salomon Brothers

06/21/1999
Jewish Week Book Critic

The copy of Leon Uris’ “Exodus” that Mark Tsesarsky read as a teenager was fragile, having passed through many hands before his. This was a samizdat copy, published underground and secretly circulated among Jews in the former Soviet Union. In the 1970s, reading it could have gotten Tsesarsky arrested, but, as he told Uris many years later as a new citizen of the United States, it made him “a Zionist in hiding.”

Newman’s Own Image-Changing Role

10/03/2008
Staff Writer
‘Exodus” was not an easy sell in 1960. When director Otto Preminger decided to adapt Leon Uris’ best-selling novel about the founding of Israel into a feature-length film, he ran into heavy resistance in Hollywood’s major studios. Too Jewish, too controversial, they said.

Newman’s Own Image-Changing Role

09/29/2008
Staff Writer
‘Exodus” was not an easy sell in 1960. When director Otto Preminger decided to adapt Leon Uris’ best-selling novel about the founding of Israel into a feature-length film, he ran into heavy resistance in Hollywood’s major studios. Too Jewish, too controversial, they said. Then Paul Newman signed on.

Where Did You Go, Ari Ben Canaan?

04/01/2008
Staff Writer
A public opinion pollster is interviewing people on the street. He stops four people and asks, “Excuse me, what is your opinion of the meat shortage?” 
A Russian says, “What is opinion?”
A Pole says, “What is meat?”
An American says, “What is shortage?”
An Israeli says, “What is ‘excuse me’?”


My first time in Israel  was an education. But not in the way I had anticipated.
Syndicate content