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Gen X Jews with Eitan Kensky

  • The Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis St. San Francisco United States (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce St between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Grunge. Slackers. Fears of selling out. Reality Bites (1994), a film directed by and starring Ben Stiller, understood itself as speaking for its generation. Twenty-five years later it’s still considered Gen X cinema at its purest. But was Reality Bites a Jewish movie? And if it distilled the values of a generation in their 20s, what are those values today, and what films address them? This presentation looks at a trio of Gen X Jews— Stiller, Noah Baumbach, and Adam Sandler—as participants in creating art that speaks to their generation while also being true to their identities as the literal and figurative heirs of American Jewish culture.

Eitan Kensky is the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections at the Stanford Libraries and co-founder of In Geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. He holds a PhD in Jewish studies from Harvard University.