Pannonica Rothschild

In Praise Of Jewish Women

From a pioneering journalist to a Jazz Baroness and beyond, all in week two of the N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

01/15/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

One of the most thankless tasks of a film critic is to troll around the depths and breadth of a festival looking for a theme that unites all the films on offer. Of course, the New York Jewish Film Festival’s entries all reflect on the Jewish experience in some way — “Doh,” as Homer Simpson might say — but this year there seems to be a bit more than that going on. Many, indeed most of the films in this year’s festival seem to be imbued with the spirit of a particularly resilient and indomitable Jewish womanhood. Push aside all the Jewish mother jokes, the Jewish American Princess jokes, all that self-defiling “comical” claptrap, and you find that she ferocity with which Jewish women have defended their heritage and their families is a significant reason why the Jews have survived for four millennia.

Ruth Gruber, a pioneering journalist who is the subject of “Ahead of Time,” covered the Holocaust and the historic voyage of Exo
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