UC Berkeley Library

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are open! Learn more.

Using the Library during COVID-19

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are now open. To stay up to date on the Library’s policies and services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s COVID-19 webpage.

Hasidism & Hasidic Communities

A Kiss to this Land (Un Beso a esta tierra)

In the 1920s and '30s, thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East emigrated to Mexico. Their stories are told through archival photographs, film footage, and contemporary interviews with Jewish octogenarians who describe their journeys and their perception of Jewish life in the new world. Directed by Daniel Goldberg. Dist.: National Center for Jewish Film. 1995. 93 min.

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America

A life apart relates the story of the creation of the Hasidic post-Holocaust communities in the United States with particular emphasis on New York City. Seven years in the making, this extraordinarily intimate film takes the viewer into the depths of the Hasidim's joyous, sometimes harsh, and often beautiful world. From mystical tales to mesmerizing music, Rebbes to Holocaust survivors, it reveals an insular world few outsiders have seen. A film by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky.

Acts of Faith: Jewish Civilization in Spain

Many Latinos in the American Southwest wear amulets and perform certain practices different from their fellow Latino Catholics--and are discovering only now, to their amazement, that they are descended from Jews who chose conversion rather than death at the time of the great expulsion from Spain in 1492.

Being Jewish in France: In Joy or in Sorrow (Comme un juif en France: dans la joie ou la douleur)

Examines the history of the Jewish people in France starting with the trial of Alfred Dreyfus in the 19th century and ending in the present day. Film consists of two parts: De l'affaire Dreyfus a  Vichy (73 min.) and De la liberation a  nos jours (112 min.). Dist.: National Center for Jewish Film.

Days of Awe.

Throughout New York City, Orthodox Jews practice ancient customs that are little known to outsiders. Though often closed to strangers, the filmaker was able to follow one ultra orthodox community in Brooklyn during one month in Autumn when the most important holidays are observed. The 1,000 year-old traditions come alive in processions, street dancing, candle lighting, and the building of temporary houses adorned with greenery. Produced by Karen Kramer. 43 min.


DVD contents: The last marranos / directors, Frederic Brenner , Stan Neumann (1990, 65 min.) -- Madres de desparecidos / by Frederic Brenner (2003, 26 min.) -- Tykocin / a film by Jerome de Missolz, Frederic Brenner (2003, 19 min.) -- Slideshow (26 min.) / with or without commentary by Frederic Brenner. CD-ROM contents: Consultation of Frederic Brenner's photo albums -- Lands of memory : navigate an evocative and poetic journey through through the arcana of Jewish culture.

Exil Shanghai.

During world war II six German, Austrian and Russian Jews cross paths in Shanghai. This documentary traces their lives in exile in China through interviews, documents and photos combined with scenes of contemporary Shanghai. A film by Ulrike Ottinger. 1995. 275 min.

Expulsion and Memory: Descendants of the Hidden Jews

This documentary traces the descendants of Spanish Jews who were forced to either flee or convert to Catholicism after Queen Isabella's edict of 1492. Many of these Jews had to practice their religion in secret, passing their furtively-recalled customs down through the generations. Exploring the history and culture of these 'conversos,' the film celebrates an enduring spiritual legacy which has survived centuries of persecution. Dist.: National Center for Jewish Film. 1996. 51 min.

Falashas: Exile of the Black Jews

Known as Falasha, Ethiopian Jews lived in isolation for centuries practicing an ancient, pre-Talmudic form of Judaism, which traces its origins back to Solomon and Sheba. In the 17th century, this civilization was overpowered by neighboring tribes. Years of persecution and discrimination followed. In the 1980s conditions worsened, as famine and a new wave of violence threatened the remaining Falasha. This documentary examines the politics that caused the Israeli government to organize Operation Moses, a secret airlift of 7,000 Ethiopian Jews out of the Sudan to Israel from Nov.

Fires in the Mirror

On Aug. 19, 1991 in Crown Heights (Brooklyn, N.Y.) a Hasidic man accidentally runs over a Black boy (Gavin Cato). Three hours later a young Jewish scholar (Yankel Rosenbaum) was murdered by Black youths. Four days of fire-bombing and riots ensued. Anna Deavere Smith acts out the roles of these 18 persons involved in the racial conflict, trying to present the differing views of this serious problem. People played by Smith: Robert Sherman, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rivkah Siegel, Min. Conrad Muhammad, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Angela Davis, Rev. Dr. Heron Sam, Henry K. Rice,, Michael S.