The Arty Semite

Hasidic Heir Who Rides a Harley

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Audiences at the 2012 Starz Denver Film Festival earlier this month likely found it uncomfortable to sit through the 29 minutes of Pearl Gluck’s’s short film, “Where Is Joel Baum.” That, however, is a good thing, because the film tells the kind of story that introduces you to a disturbing, yet riveting, title character, and leaves you wanting to know what happens to him next. That is precisely the intention of the filmmaker, who intends to turn this short into a full-length feature.

Joel Baum is the heir to a Hasidic dynasty in Brooklyn. Now an adult, he has been living since childhood with his grandmother and grandfather, the Grand Rabbi, following the death of his parents and siblings in a car accident. Joel, with his peyes and tzizis looks the part of a Hasid, and he seems to appreciate his heritage and the religious way of life. But at the same time, his obsessions with riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, and with listening to raunchy Lenny Bruce recordings, clearly hint at the fact that Joel is not your usual bearded, kapote-wearing, young Jew.

Joel is beyond eccentric. He is mentally and emotionally unstable, and this instability appears to reach a painful crescendo during an arranged date with a young Hasidic woman from Montreal. However, we soon learn that this is only a prelude to the tragic climax of the film, which takes place during a heated, sexually charged exchange between Joel and Anya, an attractive Polish cleaning woman hired by the grandmother to clean the house before Shabbat.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Where Is Joel Baum, Renee Ghert-Zand, Pearl Gluck, Film




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.