Scary Movies Made by Jews

by | Oct 4, 2018 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

October is here, which means it’s time for a night (or several nights) of classic Halloween movie marathons. We’ve rounded up this list of our top five films by Jewish filmmakers that are perfect for the countdown to Halloween.

 

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Paranormal Activity – Oren Peli

Although the Israeli film director is known for his Paranormal Activity series, Oren Peli has made his mark in the horror genre by producing some seriously scary movies including Chernobyl Diaries, Insidious and Area 51. He is known in Israel for being a leader in not only “homemade horror”, but cinema in general. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, the six Paranormal Activity films can be a marathon on their own.

 


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The Poltergeist – Steven Spielberg

Spielberg, one of the most notable Jewish filmmakers, may not be listed as a director of The Poltergeist, however he did write the story and produce the film while also directing another one of his classic films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Spielberg was raised as an Orthodox Jew by a Ukrainian-Jewish family, and has spoken a lot about his experience growing up in the religious world.

 


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Big Bad Wolves – Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

This Israeli duo of directors are frontrunners in the Israel film industry. After attending film school at Tel Aviv University, Aharon teamed up with Navot to produce two of Israel’s most popular horror films, Rabies and Big Bad Wolves, which was featured at Tribeca Film Festival.

 


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Ghostbusters – Ivan Reitman

The iconic action/comedy Ghostbusters by Jewish director Ivan Reitman is a Halloween staple for fans of lighthearted and festive films. Reitman is also known for producing Space Jam and working together with Jewish director David Cronenberg earlier in his career. Reitman was born in Slovakia and his parents have told their stories from the Holocaust, before his family came to Canada.

 


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The Addams Family – Barry Sonnenfeld

The Addams Family may not be known for being particularly scary, but it’s a perfect Halloween-themed movie for the faint of heart. After establishing himself as a cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld made his debut as a director with this film-adaptation of the popular Addams Family TV series, and is also known for Men in Black. In his early life, Sonnenfeld was raised by his Jewish mother in Washington Heights, New York City.

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Last month Hillel Ontario heard from Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada. After winning the leadership race back in October of 2020, Annamie became the first Black person and first Jewish woman to lead a federal Canadian political party. Since then, she has been speaking to Canadians all across the country, spreading messages of hope and inspiration, during a time where these moments are a rarity. No matter the political orientation of the Zoom attendees of this fireside chat, everyone walked away with a few life lessons up their sleeve.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways. First, Annamie spoke about following your passion, a message that I know many students needed to hear. When I graduated from grade 12, I was constantly asked where I saw myself in five years, ten years, and sometimes even twenty years. Although I was asked with the best intentions, I’ve always felt overwhelming pressure to envision a clear career path. Annamie dispelled this myth by referencing the enjoyment associated with the process of discovering your passion rather than having a final goal in mind, and Annamie’s enthusiasm for human rights through a policy lens has shaped the course of her life. Second, Annamie spoke about the importance of speaking up in the face of injustice. Whether you consider yourself an advocate or not, Annamie highlighted the need to follow your moral compass, never remaining complicit. Following Annamie’s time as the leader of the Green Party, it is clear that she isn’t afraid to use her voice and position to shine light on racism, antisemitism, and sexism. These are two lessons I think everyone can learn from.

Annamie spoke about growing up in Toronto Centre (the riding where she will be running in the next federal election), her career as an international lawyer, and her decision to enter politics. As someone who doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional politician, Annamie referenced about the challenges that she’s faced as a Black, Jewish woman. Racism, antisemitism, and sexism were all constant throughout her leadership campaign, and her six months leading the Green Party. 

Throughout Annamie’s talk, I learned about the importance of elevating voices that have previously gone unheard. In a predominantly white space, Hillel students and staff need to work hard to ensure that Jews of Colour feel welcomed. 

After 45 minutes, the latter half of which consisted of an insightful Q&A, Annamie mentioned that she would love to be invited back to another Hillel Ontario fireside chat. For now, I’ll take Annamie’s lessons with me while looking forward to hearing about all of her accomplishments in a year from now.

  • Skylar Banks, Guelph Hillel
Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaborating with other student organizations allows us to diversify the students at our events, build coalitions, establish good rapport with other student groups and broaden the topics of the content that we deliver. 

This past month, we had the privilege of working with the Waterloo and Laurier chapters of Menstruation Redefined, which is committed to helping with the “institutional and social barriers surrounding menstruation that risk the health, well-being, and daily lives of many.” This mission resonated with us at Hillel because we understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for all. These are values that we hold as Jews, and want to embody at Hillel. 

We joined forces to produce a fun evening of trivia and learning. The event allowed us to reach new students, educate others on Jewish practice for those who menstruate, and learn more about Menstruation Redefined’s mission. Collaborative events like this allow us to understand key issues and causes that other student-run campus groups advocate for and to build strong allyships and ensure that we propel Hillel’s values forward, such as inclusion and equity.

Jessica Bloom, HIllel Waterloo Student President
Veronica Grad, Hillel Laurier Student President

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