John Turturro has portrayed a number of memorable Jewish characters. In his latest film, “Fading Gigolo,” which he wrote, directed and stars in, he plays a male prostitute named Fioravante, who pretends to be a Sephardic Jew. He sat down to talk about what it was like to direct Woody Allen, whether Liev Schreiber’s payes in the film were real and how a French actress and singer who isn’t Jewish nailed the role of a chasidic Jew. This is an edited transcript.
Stanlee Stahl runs the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which provides financial support to gentiles who rescued Jews.
Amy Sara Clark
Stanlee Stahl has been executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous since 1992. Since 1986, the organization has provided $34 million in financial support to more than 2,500 gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Currently JFR supports 654 rescuers in 22 countries, with the vast proportion living in Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Hungary. The foundation also runs a Holocaust education program that has trained more than 400 middle and high school teachers from the U.S. and Eastern Europe since 2000. On the eve of Yom HaShoah, The Jewish Week caught up with Stahl for a wide-ranging discussion on the rescuers she’s met and the impact of the group’s education program. This is an edited transcript.
Under the retiring Peter Willner, American Friends of The Hebrew University increased its fundraising considerably.
Peter Willner will be stepping down this summer after 12 years as national executive director of the American Friends of The Hebrew University. During his tenure, AFHU increased its annual fundraising from $18 million in 2002 to $500 million by the end of 2013; last year the group raised $50 million. Willner spent more than 30 years in executive positions in the nonprofit sector, the Anti-Defamation League and UJA-Federation of New York. The Jewish Week caught up with him recently for a discussion about the philanthropic landscape in the Jewish community and the so-called “brain drain” of Israeli academics. This is an edited transcript.
Neuroscientist-turned-filmmaker Ari Handel talks about making "Noah" and rooming with a big-shot director.
Special To The Jewish Week
Ari Handel, a neuroscientist whose career path ultimately took him to Hollywood, is the co-writer, with director Darren Aronofsky, of “Noah,” which opened last week. (It was the top-grossing film last weekend, with a haul of $44 million.) Handel was the executive producer of “The Wrestler,” “Black Swan,” and “The Fountain,” which he also wrote. Handel and Aronofsky, it turns out, were suitemates at Harvard. In a phone interview, Handel spoke about the challenges in making the film, which he also produced, and the critics who say the film strays too much from the Bible. This is an edited transcript.
Ron Soloway is retiring after 25 years of advocating on behalf of the local Federation's social service agencies.
Any time social service funds are threatened by a budget axe, or strained by a crisis, Ron Soloway is on the phone, at City Hall or in the statehouse, warning of the impact on vulnerable people served by UJA-Federation of New York’s network of more than 100 agencies. After 25 years of lobbying, most recently as managing director for external and governmental relations, the Brooklyn native, 64, is retiring in June. He looked back, and ahead, in a recent interview. This is an edited transcript.
Imprisoned in Iran for 781 days, Josh Fattal writes a memoir with his fellow captives about the experience.
Special To The Jewish Week
Josh Fattal was imprisoned in Iran for 781 days on the charge of espionage. In his new memoir, “A Sliver of Light,” co-written with Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, he describes how the three friends went hiking in Kurdistan and didn’t realize they were near the Iranian border. They were told to come forward by soldiers they soon realized were Iranian. They were placed in cars, blindfolded and imprisoned. They would soon hear screams of torture, and they were uncertain if they would live or die. Fattal, who lives in Brooklyn and is pursuing a Ph.D. in history at New York University, spoke with The Jewish Week by phone. This is an edited transcript.
Former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon is stateside to promote the two-state solution.
Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel’s internal security agency, is a founder of Blue White Future, a nonpartisan political movement committed to a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace. He was here this week for a town hall meeting organized by J Street’s $1 million national “The 2 Campaign” to build the “great constituency” Secretary of State John Kerry has called for to promote a two-state solution.
The Graduate School of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America announced last week that is establishing a new academic program — a master’s degree in Jewish ethics. The program, to be headed by Alan Mittleman, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the school, will focus on such area as bioethics, business ethics and legal ethics. The Jewish Week interviewed Mittleman by e-mail. This is an edited version of the transcript.