Welsh academic takes expertise in Jewish film to the Big Apple

Nathan Abrams, an expert in Jewish film and culture at Bangor University is contributing to a unique event taking place in New York in March.  Jewish Tales from Wales will showcase three Welsh-Jewish films in New York and is organised by the Welsh Government and the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust with support from Bangor University.

As an expert on Jewish films in general, Dr Nathan Abrams from the University’s School of Creative Studies and Media, will be leading post-screening discussions, including Q&As with the directors.

He said: “I am honoured to be involved in this event which, uniquely, combines two of my interests: Jewish film and Welsh-Jewish history. I don’t think anything like this has happened before, either in Wales let alone New York!”

Professor John Hughes, who will also be representing Bangor University at this prestigious event said: “As a University we’re delighted to support this initiative to explore the Jewish culture of Wales and showcase it in America. This is a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of cultural expertise that we have at Bangor.  That Dr Abrams can bring new insights on Jewish heritage to New York, a city renowned for its Jewish heritage is to be applauded. He is also leading the way in studying the Jewish heritage of Wales.”

 Dr Abrams’s most recent publication is The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema.

Dr Abrams explains: “Jewish film characters have existed almost as long as the medium of film itself, but they were often confined to caricatures or parodies. But around 1990, films about Jews multiplied. A new generation of Jewish filmmakers, writers and actors in Hollywood and the rest of the world began depicting Jews in ways which went beyond the usual stereotypes. They portrayed tough Jews, brutish Jews, gay and lesbian Jews, Jewish cowboys, skinheads and superheroes and even Jews in space. I have explored these new and changing depictions of Jews, Jewishness and Judaism. My concern is to reveal how the representation of the Jew is used to convey confidence or anxieties about Jewish identity and history.”

Nathan Abrams is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Bangor University. Dr. Nathan Abrams is the author, co-author, and editor of several books including:  Norman Podhoretz and Commentary Magazine: The Rise and Fall of the Neo-Cons; and Caledonian Jews: A Study of Seven Small Communities in Scotland.

Publication date: 5 March 2012