Jews in Prime Time

courtesy IMDB
courtesy IMDB

This panel discussed how Jewish issues, Judaism and Jewish characters are handled in prime time entertainment television. Participants included some of Hollywood’s most prominent executives and creative figures: Jason Alexander, Chris Carter, Gary David Goldberg, David Kelley, Jamie Kellner, Norman Lear, Leslie Moonves, Don Ohlmeyer, Rob Reiner, Peter Roth, Jeff Sagansky, Dawn Tarnofsky and Grant Tinker. It was moderated by Harvard professor Arthur Miller and co-sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Television Network.

Some of the themes explored during the session were:

  • how the role of American Jews differed in the film and television industries
  • the positive and negative sterotypes presented by Jewish characters on television, especially by gender
  • how Seinfeld marked the true arrival of Jews in America
  • the power of television and film to shape personal and societal perceptions of minorities

The papers prepared for this conference were published by the Lear Center as Television’s Changing Image of American Jews. To receive a free copy, email your name and address to enter@usc.edu.