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.

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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