“Wait a minute, wait a minute”….
The Jazz Singer, an American musical, is the first talkie. Although most of this black-and-white film is silent–dialogue is printed on the screen–the approximately twenty minutes of spoken word wowed audiences and ushered in a new era of American film.
Featuring blackface as well as the first words spoken in American film, this is a tale of assimilation and immigrant aspirations. Jakie Rabinowitz, a Jewish immigrant, defies Jewish tradition by performing in a beer hall. Punished by his father, a traditional hazzan (cantor), he runs away from home to become a jazz singer, but eventually he is called to decide between his professional ambitions and his heritage.
Warner Brothers invested large sums of money and even greater thought into this first sound production, and indeed, as the first spoken sentence assured: “You ain’t heard nothing yet” and the viewers reacted accordingly. Producers knew that whatever script they chose would attract widespread media attention. Their topic choice: a story of Americanization.
The Jazz Singer uses several words perhaps unfamiliar to you:
Cantor person who leads prayers in a synagogue or temple
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement, the day on which Jews formally seek forgiveness for transgressions they have committed towards God.
Kol Nidre (all Vows) refers to the central prayer sung on the eve of Yom Kippur
Kibitzer someone who puts in his or her two cents when they are not wanted (Yiddish)
Shiksa derogative for a non-Jewish woman or girl (Yiddish)
How does Jakie Rabinowitz reject his Old World heritage?
How does Jack Robin embraces American ways and the American Dream?
What role does Judaism play in all this?
How is Jack accepted by his immigrant Jewish community?
What do you believe to be the movie’s central message to its 1927 audience?
Bibleraps: I’m not white, I’m Jewish
listen here at http://www.myspace.com/bibleraps
Back when I rapped in high school, people told me I’m tight for a white dude.
I’m not white I’m Jewish, I’m not white I’m Jewish.
Not trying to be a prophet but he who parted the sea,
is a part of me and when look in my heart I see, the same mystery,
and I know that we share the same history.
Yeah, Hebrew is the language of G-D, so silently, I know he walks with me,
like O.G., I’m G’ed up, I’m G-D’ed up,
I’m a read up with my feet up,
Sabbath is practice til we all get freed up
so please plant your seeds up,
Israel’s the bride and the groom’s inside
and when I’m staring at the Lion, I’m like open wide
and when I’m drowning in the ocean, I will choke the tide
snatch a patch from the sky, put that patch in my eye
you can tell me I’m fly, but it’s not for a white guy
I’m not white I’m Jewish
Even with my eyes low, my shine show,
wise guys eyes close, respecting what my mind know,
my reach is like a newborns, I’m grabbin at everything,
get mad rich and take it back from the savages,
Sabbathes pass, but its not ash to ash,
it’s “what? to what?” and its task to task,
yeah, life is to act with more secrets than Akiva knew
it doesn’t matter what you think it only matters what you do,
I’m tired these days cause I’m getting up earlier,
my eyes carry baggage, my Jew-fro’s curlier,
the patch on my pants for the lack of the cabbage is a problem,
I’m working on solving