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For most American Jews, the occupied Palestinian territories exist as an abstraction. Their towns are names that are heard on the news, often in a negative context.

Director David Osit shifts that narrative in his new documentary “Mayor.” Osit follows the daily schedule of Musa Hadid, who presides over Ramallah with intention and devotion that earns him hearty welcomes from citizens. He is a constant presence on the streets of his metropolis.

In opening shots, Osit’s camera pans the streets of Ramallah, accompanied by a swelling musical score and urban imagery equivalent to a Woody Allen ode to Manhattan. Humor…

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During the month of Elul, in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, it is tradition to take stock of where we stand as individuals and communities in the moral universe.

It is with pride that Reform congregations around the country have engaged in social justice actions. This includes efforts on prison reform, food insecurity, immigration, and LGBTQ rights. Groups have taken part in demonstrations on the ground, pre-COVID. During the pandemic, webinars and Zoom sessions have sprung up to inform and educate in greater depth.

Now that people have more time to read and learn, it is the perfect opportunity to examine…

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When Annette Bening and Bill Nighy are featured in a film examining the dissolution of a marriage, expectations are high. In “Hope Gap,” there are truths presented, questions to be parsed, and beautiful seascapes featuring white cliffs. Yet, something remains off.

The opening interior scenes feel like a filmed play. Conversation and actions have the quality of being typically British (Bening adopts an English accent), but before long, this viewer got the feeling that I’d been dropped into “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

It’s clear early on that the characters of Grace and Edward are operating on different wave lengths…

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Just in time for the exacerbated stress and anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a new documentary, The Mindfulness Movement (originally slated for theater release) is available to stream online or buy.

The 100-minute film, co-produced by Deepak Chopra and the musician Jewel, gives an introduction to using the breath as an anchor to redirect thought patterns by “focusing on the present moment in a non-judgmental way.”

Director Rob Beemer anchors his look with four personal narratives, which are combined with interviews from pioneers in the field. Beemer has emphasized his goal as bringing “secular mindfulness” to a larger…

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Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge is author Sheila Weller’s newest addition to her body of work, which is often situated at the crossroads between women’s issues and cultural observation. In previous books, Weller examined several women through the prism of music and media. With her biography of Fisher, her subject is so outsized, it is the equivalent of a group portrait: The many facets of Carrie.

Who was she? The child of a Hollywood couple; inhabitor of the career-defining role of Princess Leia in “Star Wars”; actress and writer; friend to innumerable celebrities; daughter, mother, wife (married to…

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Pete Buttigieg Interviewed by Ben Rhodes at J Street 2019

I decided to travel to Washington, D.C. for the J Street Conference on the day that Donald Trump coined the moniker, “Disloyal Jews.” I was looking for answers and insights. I found plenty.

J Street has been on my radar since its inception. I interviewed founder Jeremy Ben-Ami in 2008, about Jews and the Obama candidacy. The organization has grown in size and influence since that time, and has offered an option for American Jews who do not identify with the status quo being put forth by many legacy Jewish organizations, nor the politics of AIPAC.

With two days of…

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The Prison-Industrial Complex as an entity is finally beginning to seep into the consciousness of Americans. How and why the United States incarcerates it citizens, the role that race plays, and the approaches pitting punishment and containment against rehabilitation, are becoming more mainstream topics.

Opening this month, “Imprisoned,” written and directed by Paul Kampf, examines the life trajectory of a man who believes he has paid his dues to society through his time served, and is now a different person. The narrative takes place in Puerto Rico.

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Rep. Barbara Lee

Netroots Nations had over 4,000 attendees this year, and featured three days of back-to-back panels, discussions, and keynotes. Those present tried to get to the heart of our current political landscape, learn, and examine the best way to effect change. There was plenty to digest and unpack. It’s taken me a week.

My walk over to the Philadelphia Convention Center included traversing an underpass that was serving as a shelter to homeless men and women. It was a real time reminder of the pressing challenges impacting people on-the-ground.

There were trainings, special events, film screenings, and vendor booths (from tech…

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Courtesy: Cinema Libre Studio

It is currently a time when liberal democracies around the world seem to be imploding, Brexit is tearing Britain apart, and the United States is fighting for its soul.

Yet, there are some story lines that don’t change. One is the fight waged by those who depend on manufacturing jobs to provide for their livelihoods.

In “At War” (“En Guerre”), the French film directed by Stéphane Brizé and starring Vincent Lindon, it’s not a question of a dying industry (think coal) or an issue of obsolescence. …

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Hair has always played an outsize role in cultural mores throughout history. In today’s society, where the advertising world has successfully intertwined and cemented the relationship between an individual’s tresses and their youth, vitality, sexuality, and identity — there are unlimited options for controlling how to present ourselves to the world.

Unfortunately, the quest most often involves the use of harmful chemicals.

Women may have thought they were getting liberated during the 1960s when the hair-sprayed and shellacked helmet was ushered out for the newer cuts featuring a “natural look.” However, they should have known better.

The beauty industry wasn’t…

Marcia G. Yerman

Marcia G. Yerman (NYC) writes profiles, interviews, essays, & articles focusing on women’s issues, human rights, Israel/Palestine, enviro, and arts & culture.

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