Jewish Mothers on Screen

Trudy Gold

23/02/2009 4:30 pm
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The Jewish mother has been depicted as myth, matriarch and even monstrous. As one trawls through Hollywood, British films and even BT commercials what emerges is an extraordinary stereotype – overprotective, demanding, feeding, generally sexless, over emotional, materialistic and aspirational for her husband and children. This presentation featured archetypal Jewish mothers from the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, in the twenties to more recent films such as Suzie Gold via Exodus, Over Brooklyn the Bridge, Goodbye Columbus, New York Stories, The Bar Mitzvah Boy and many more. Are these creations affectionate reminiscences of Jewish sons or just downright malicious – and if so, why do we still laugh?

In association with London Jewish Cultural Centre

Film Archive at the LJCC:

The London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) raises Jewish consciousness within the community with the most exciting educational programmes and cultural events for people of all ages. The Centre attracts world renowned teachers in addition to leading politicians, writers, journalists, commentators, actors and musicians.

In 1994, the LJCC introduced the LJCC Film Archive, the organized use of moving image with what is now considered to be the most extensive collection of Jewish related film in Europe.

Used by film makers and researchers, the Archive is organized into sections which provide valuable material to complement the LJCC’s educational and cultural experience. From Hollywood to Eastern Europe, the collection reveals the rich wealth of Jewish life from the very early cinema to the present day. Off-air productions of both feature films and documentaries are fed into the Archive regularly.

In order to satisfy copywrite laws the Archive is licensed with the Education Recording Agency. Connections with other organisations include the British Schools and University Film and Video Council, The Imperial War Museum, The Steven Spielberg Archive and the United States Washington Congressional Library.

Trudy Gold


Trudy Gold is director of Holocaust Studies at JW3 and former chief executive of the LJCC. She is the editor in chief of Understanding the Holocaust.

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