Jewish film characters have existed almost as long as the medium itself. But around 1990, films about Jews and their representation in cinema multiplied and took on new forms, marking a radical rupture with the past. With a new generation of Jewish filmmakers, writers and actors at work, contemporary cinemas in Hollywood and the rest of the world have been depicting a multiplicity of new Jews, including tough Jews, brutish Jews, gay and lesbian Jews, Jewish cowboys, skinheads and superheroes, Jews in space and so on. Grounded in the study of over 300 films from Hollywood and beyond, 'The New Jew in Film' explores these new and changing depictions of Jews, Jewishness and Judaism, providing a wider, more representative picture of the subject than has hitherto been attempted. This is a compelling, surprising and provocative book, whose chapters explore masculinity, femininity, passivity, agency, religion, as well as a departure into new territory including food and bathrooms.
Its concern is to reveal how the representation of the Jew is used to convey confidence or anxieties about Jewish identity and history, as well as how it engages with questions of racial, sexual and gender politics. In so doing, 'The New Jew in Film' also provides a welcome overview of important Jewish films produced globally over the last twenty years.