“The New Jew,” a four-part comedic documentary series co-produced by the Ruderman Family Foundation which introduces Israelis to the diversity of Jewish life in the U.S., is coming to America this week.
Nationwide screenings of episodes of “The New Jew” alongside panel discussions with the three creators of the series — including the show’s host Guri Alfi, one of Israel’s most popular comedians and best-known television personalities — will be held from October 25-November 4.
The Ruderman Family Foundation’s role as co-producer of “The New Jew” reflects the organization’s mission to educate Israelis about American Jewry as well as strengthen the relationship between the world’s two largest Jewish communities. The Foundation engages a broad spectrum of the Israeli population to become more knowledgeable on the unique aspects of the American Jewish community, including by initiating programs in academia, bringing delegations of Israeli opinion-shapers on trips to the U.S., and collaborating with research institutions and other organizations.
“If one thing is exceedingly clear from my various experiences of working to foster closeness between Israel and the Jewish community in the U.S., it is that too many Israelis are largely unaware of the history, challenges, and diversity of American Jews,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “‘Crucially, ‘The New Jew’ has helped fill gaps in this knowledge among Israeli viewers, and we are gratified that American Jewish audiences will now get a firsthand look at this docuseries and the story behind it.”
“The New Jew” helps Israeli viewers explore the fundamental differences between the particularistic nature of Judaism in Israel versus the universalistic Jewishness in the U.S. The series is also known for creatively and compellingly addressing questions surrounding Jewish identity and Jewish unity.
“Working on this series was a transformative experience for me. Like so many Israelis, who grew up on the concept of the negation of the diaspora, I've always been condescending towards American Jewry. On this journey, I realized how ignorant I am about my own Jewish heritage and culture,” said Alfi. “I always took my Judaism for granted, and was blown away by the passion, intentionality and pride all of the people we encountered felt towards their Jewishness. I believe this series helped shift the needle among Israeli society and cultivate a renewed appreciation for Jewish life in the States, and I'm certain Americans will find it both entertaining and informative."
The tour is sponsored by The Jewish Agency for Israel, and the stop in Boston, where the Ruderman Foundation is based, is also being held in partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Israeli-American Council, and the Consulate General of Israel to New England.
“Guri Alfi has brought American Jews into Israeli living rooms and in doing so has enlarged our presence in the Israeli national discourse. We hope that our tour will help bridge the gap between American and Israeli Jews by facilitating open, honest conversations among them through the relatable and engaging medium of entertainment,” said Dan Elbaum, The Jewish Agency’s Head of North America and President and CEO of Jewish Agency International Development. “By touching on sensitive issues in a humorous way, ‘The New Jew’ is one of the most important efforts to bring Israelis and American Jews closer. For The Jewish Agency, which has been a leader in educating Israelis about world Jewry, this is nothing less than revolutionary."