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Welcome to the home page for the Moishe Oysher Virtual Film Festival.
Star of Yiddish stage and screen, Moishe Oysher was one of the top hazzanim of all time and his recordings continue to be appreciated due to his rich, powerful voice and creative arrangements. And thanks to his body of work as a performer in Yiddish films, his legacy continues to enrich new generations of Yiddishists and music aficionados.
Courtesy of the National Center for Jewish Film and the generosity of our sponsors, we will present full-length virtual showings of two Yiddish films featuring Moishe Oysher and other great Yiddish actors of his generation as well as Zoom gatherings, hosted by the CA's very own expert in classic films of hazzanut, Cantor Murray Simon, to listen to many of Oysher's recordings and hear from other experts on Yiddish film and Hazzanut. Our festival will conclude with a showing of A Dream of My People, which showcases the talents of Yossele Rosenblatt, considered by many to be the greatest hazzan who ever lived.
There is no charge to register, however, we do ask that you consider making a minimum voluntary donation of $18 to help us cover our screening and marketing fees.
To continue the registration process, please fill out the form below.
Overture to Glory /
Der Vilner Balabesl
October 2-3, 2022
The cantor of the Vilna Synagogue, played by the great real-life cantor Moishe Oysher, leaves behind his prayers to perform in the Warsaw Opera. He struggles to balance the appeal of his newfound fame and notoriety with feelings of guilt and responsibility toward his family and community.
Featuring perhaps the most convincing scenes of synagogue life in any fiction film, Overture to Glory begins during the morning service on Rosh Hashanah and ends at Kol Nidre, making the story a kind of redemptive journey during the days of awe.
The Singing Blacksmith /
Yankl Der Schmid
November 20-21, 2022
Moishe Oysher, the renowned cantor and star of Yiddish radio, stars in Edgar G. Ulmer’s musical version of David Pinski’s play Yankl der Shmid. Singing, dancing, and flashing his eyes, Oysher gives his most robust performance as a passionate shtetl blacksmith who must struggle against temptation in order to become a mensch. Recently rediscovered footage makes this the most complete extant version of Ulmer’s lively folk operetta, replete with an example of Yiddish swing.
A Dream of My People
December 11-12, 2022
An early travelogue on Palestine, focusing on Jews living and working in the Holy Land featuring the last appearance of Cantor Joseph (Yosselle) Rosenblatt. Narrated by Zvee Scooler, American actor and legendary Yiddish radio commentator.
Locations featured here include Jerusalem sites (the market, Hebrew University, the King David Hotel, the Jewish Agency); the Judean Hills, Mikve Israel Agricultural School, pioneers working in fields; Rishon le Zion, Rehovot, Nes Ziona, citrus picking and packing; Jezreel valley and settlements; Tiberias and Lak Kinneret; Bedouin dwellings; Tel Aviv and Jaffa beach and street scenes and the Maccabiah Stadium.
How it works:
Each Sunday morning when a film is being shown (complete schedule TBD), we will send to all those who register a special code that will enable them to watch that month's film anytime for the next 36 hours on any device of their choosing.* At the end of that time, those who wish to do so will gather together on Zoom to enjoy a lively post-film discussion moderated by the CA's resident expert in Jewish cinema, Cantor Murray Simon and other special guests.
*Note: Viewers may register at any time during the course of the festival and need only register once to see all films in the series. Registration must be completed at least 72 hours (three days) prior to each screening date.
How to get involved:
- Register below.
- Share the registration link: cantors.org/oysher.
- Enjoy the films by yourself, with your family, friends or fellow congregants.
- Advertise the festival within your community.
- Put out flyers for each month’s film.
- Announce each month’s film from the bima and in your weekly or monthly newsletters.
- Share with your social networks.
- Organize watch parties at your home.
- Say thank you with a voluntary donation to the CA in any amount of your choosing.
Note: These films may not be exhibited publicly without the express written consent of NCJF. If you'd like information about how to schedule a screening in your shul or facility, please contact NCJF at www.jewishfilm.org.
Flyers, social media graphics and sample scripts can be downloaded here.
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to those who have made this festival possible, both through the voluntary contributions of viewers like you and the core support of the following individuals and organizations:
- Hazzan Sam Weiss of Jewish Community Center of Paramus, NJ
- Yiddish Artists and Friends Actors Club
- Rabbi Michael Wolk & Cantor Shira Lissek of Temple Israel of Charlotte
- Cantor David Lipp of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Louisville, KY
- Rabbi Eliot Malomet & Barbara Parkoff, President of Highland Park Conservative Temple-Congregation Anshe Emeth, Highland Park, NJ