Crossing Delancey

The movie offers a touching affirmation of Jewish values.

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The film does miss opportunities. Its sentimentality is so solid that a little schmaltz--an extra dose of sentimentality--with a slight nod toward corniness, would not have hurt. A good old-fashioned wedding scene, with huppah (wedding canopy) and all, would not have been out of place here. It's obvious that the writer and producer wanted the film to end in the contemporary key of "maybe," or even in the higher key of "probably." I suspect that many viewers would have preferred it to have ended with a definitive "mazel tov."

Director Joan Micklin Silver has observed in an interview that star Amy Irving pushed this project even though film companies had serious doubts that anything so "Jewish" could win the hearts of so many viewers. Despite some of the criticisms expressed in this review, Crossing Delancey aims for a Jewish authenticity that most films on "Jewish" themes just do not have, with the exception of Silver's previous film, Hester Street.

This, even more than the fine acting and witty writing, makes Crossing Delancey unique and precious. Written by Susan Sandier and based on her original play, this film broke new ground and posed worthwhile challenges for film-makers who seek to explore Jewishness.

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Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel

Elliot B. Gertel is the rabbi of Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago and media critic for The Jewish Post and Opinion of Indianapolis.