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Wes Hopper


Black and white movie still of two Orthodox Jewish men in black hats and jackets

While a man shaves in his bedroom mirror, a radio report establishes the time period. The U.S. has just dropped the second of two atomic bombs on Japan, and the Allied powers have demanded Japanese surrender. The man shaving goes about his business, caught up in his own affairs. As he finishes, he nicks himself. The blood is an ill omen for the day ahead.

So begins 1945, Ferenc Torok’s latest film, set in rural Hungary during the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust.

Like its opening minutes, the black and white film, in Hungarian with English subtitles, is charged with...

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Young woman in a red velvet hat and a pink overcoat flings her arm above her head as though singing an expressive song in front of an old fashioned butcher shop

Every spring, Amazon releases the first episode or pilot of five TV series to gauge audience reaction and decide which warrant a full season pick-up. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a funny and inspiring drama about an Upper West Side Jewish woman who learns she has a gift for stand-up comedy, received an overwhelmingly positive response from Amazon viewers and a two-season order.

Like AMC’s hit series Mad Men, Mrs. Maisel is set in Manhattan during the patriarchal late-’50s/early ’60s, but they have little else in common. Miriam Maisel is bubbly and indomitable when compared to Don...

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Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller character greet a young female character with a hug on a train platform as another woman looks on

When Netflix premiered writer director Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories at Cannes this past May, the film received a well-deserved four-minute standing ovation.

The Meyerowitzes are a clan of East Coast Jews held together by their conflicted relationships with paterfamilias Harold, a minor artist and retired professor of sculpture, played to perfection by Dustin Hoffman. Harold has two children from his first marriage, Danny and Jean, played by Adam Sandler and Elizabeth Marvel, and a third child from a second marriage, Matthew, played by Ben Stiller, who reunites with his...

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Jews digging a trench during World War II in Ponar Lithuania

“NOVA”’s terrific new one-hour film, “Holocaust Escape Tunnel,” is a reminder that in an era of alternative facts, science and history still can separate fact from fiction. The documentary explores the near destruction of one of the most important Jewish communities in history.

Prior to World War II, Jews comprised half the population of Vilnius, Lithuania, known in Yiddish as Vilna. Through a combination of survivor and descendant accounts, interviews with historians, archival films, and the findings of an international team of archeologists led by Dr. Richard Freund and Dr. Jon...

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I grew up in a family without any serious religious affiliation. We were Christian only in the most secular sense, and never attended church. Only one African-American family lived in our predominantly white community in Maine, and no Jews. I don’t remember ever hearing an anti-Jewish slur. In fact, Judaism was so foreign to me that it barely graced my radar.

Flash forward to my early 30s. As I discussed my interest in converting to Judaism with my wife, the granddaughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, she looked me in the eye and said, “Yes, there are many wonderful things about...

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