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Gangsters, Goniffs and Goons

Hosted By: The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

There have been a whole lot of nice Jewish boys in the movies—just as there have been a number of nasty ones! Join us as we survey the well-known Hebrew hoods of cinema who have terrorized audiences as well as their on-screen rivals over the past 100 years. Meet a rogues’ gallery that includes such real-life gangsters as Bugsy Siegel, Dutch Schultz, Meyer Lansky and Louis Lepke, portrayed by the likes of Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Kingsley, Tony Curtis and others. We also look at the careers of tough-guy Jewish actors like Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni, John Garfield and Eli Wallach, as well as a line-up of fictional but still-menacing mobsters like Moe Green and Hyman Roth from the Godfather films and Ace Rothstein from Casino!

This presentation will be given by film historians Irv Slifkin and Laurence Lerman, the founders of FilmShul, which focuses on the history and role of Jews involved in the field of entertainment – since much of the industry’s success can be attributed to their association with it since its earliest days. The role of FilmShul is to reflect on and relate to the American Jewish experience, allowing attendees to be informed, entertained, as well as recognize the valuable contributions made by entertainment innovators of the Jewish faith.

The event listed here is hosted by a third party. My Jewish Learning/70 Faces Media is not responsible for its content or for errors in the listing.


The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC) is an educational non-profit, created in 1998, to preserve and support the Lower East Side’s community of living synagogues and other historic structures, and to raise public awareness of the neighborhoods distinct cultural identity. As the birthplace of American Jewish civilization, and the most iconic immigrant neighborhood in America, we share this history by taking people on walking tours which enter sacred sites, where you learn how past generations came here, lived and worshiped. Learn more about LESJC here.
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