American Jewry

The American Jewish Story through Cinema



“A keen eye and perspicacious insights” READ REVIEW: Hadassah Magazine 

“An absorbing narrative”  READ REVIEW: Jewish Book Council 

Goldman’s remarkable edge as a writer and presenter...” READ REVIEW: Times of Israel 

“Thoughtful and provocative” READ REVIEW: NY Jewish Week 

”Goldman’s work shines for many reasons.” READ REVIEW EXCERPT: American Jewish History 

“An instructive and enjoyable read.”  READ REVIEW EXCERPT: AJS Review 

Publication Date: April 15, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-029274430-1 

$55.00 Hardcover  $25.00 Paperback  

Available as an eBook!Publisher: University of Texas Press  

Like the haggadah, the traditional “telling” of the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt that is read at the Passover seder, cinema offers a valuable text from which to gain an understanding of the social, political, and cultural realities of Jews in America. In an industry strongly influenced by Jewish filmmakers who made and continue to make the decisions as to which films are produced, the complex and evolving nature of the American Jewish condition has had considerable impact on American cinema and, in particular, on how Jews are reflected on the screen. This groundbreaking study analyzes select mainstream films from the beginning of the sound era to today to provide an understanding of the American Jewish experience over the last century.  

In the first half of the twentieth century, Hollywood’s movie moguls, most of whom were Jewish, shied away from asserting a Jewish image on the screen for fear that they might be too closely identified with that representation. Over the next two decades, Jewish moviemakers became more comfortable with the concept of a Jewish hero and with an overpowered, yet heroic, Israel. In time, the Holocaust assumed center stage as the single event with the greatest effect on American Jewish identity. Recently, as American Jewish screenwriters, directors, and producers have become increasingly comfortable with their heritage, we are seeing an unprecedented number of movies that spotlight Jewish protagonists, experiences, and challenges.

Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble


Yiddish Film

Visions, Images & Dreams: Yiddish Film Past & Present


“Steeped in tradition, rich in culture, laden with emotion (are) the films Goldman treats in this admirable study.”—Los Angeles Times
“A unique attempt to chronicle every picture produced in the Yiddish language...I applaud his filling a gap in the history of Jewish aesthetic pursuits.” —Jerusalem Post
“No one interested in the nature and history of Yiddish cinema can afford to miss this book. Meticulously researched, written without gush.” —London Jewish Chronicle

Publication Date: February 1, 2011 | ISBN-10: 0841914370 |
ISBN-13: 978-0841914377 | Edition: Revised & Expanded |
$25.00 Paperback
Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers

This is the history of the Yiddish cinema, and the people who shaped its development. The films were intended as entertainment but also acted to reinforce Jewish identity especially in the United States. The author traveled to fourteen countries, viewed dozens of films (some of them considered lost), and combed archives in Austria, Poland, Western Europe, the former Soviet Union and the United States to uncover details, facts, and background for this narrative.

Our story begins with the early Yiddish silent movies, largely films made of Yiddish stage productions in Poland and Russia, and moves on to the innovative film productions in 1920s Soviet Union made with government support, and then on to the Golden Age of this genre In Poland and the United States from 1936-1940. Even after the height of its popularity before the war, Yiddish movies continued to be made in the late 1940s. This newly revised edition includes films of the past fifteen years, as there has been a renaissance of interest in Yiddish- and along with it, Yiddish cinema. Another special feature of this edition are interviews with Jacob Ben-Ami, Ira Greene, Joseph Green and Molly Picon, some of the key figures in Yiddish movie-making.

Available from Amazon


Through Cinema's Lens

The American Jewish Experience through the Lens of Cinema

Publication Date: 2009
Free and Downloadable (
Publisher: American Jewish Committee

American culture has been remarkably accepting of the Jewish Diaspora. But while Jewish images are prevalent in all types of media, there has not been a great deal of attention paid to the quality of the images. Often, the predominant narrative conveys a story of persecution of Jews rather than one of diverse and often positive Jewish experience. In this publication, Eric Goldman addresses questions of the fairness of Jewish images in media and the dominant messages that are being transmitted.