Docu on how black & Jewish entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr. navigated the turbulent '60's gets a little help from his friends

Historian Stan Taffel, comedian Tom Dreesen, festival director
 Hilary Helstein, actor Hal Linden, son of Sammy- Manny Davis
The 2018 L.A. Jewish Film Festival opened in Beverly Hills on Wednesday with the PBS' American Masters 
documentary, "I Gotta Be Me" (2017).  The film was produced by Sally Rosenthal, directed by Samuel D. Pollard, and written by Laurence Maslon. Executive producer for American Masters' was Michael Kantor.

A notable list of celebrities appear in the movie - Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, May Britt, Diahann Carroll, Billy Crystal, Sammy Davis Jr., Angie Dickinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Kim Novak, and Sidney Poitier. 

Manny Davis, Laugh-In producer George Schlatter, and comic
Tom Dreesen share their Sammy stories before theater crowd
Two of Sammy's collaborators featured in the movie also spoke to the audience after the Beverly Hills screening - George Schlatter, the executive producer of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" (who introduced Sammy's "Here Come Da Judge" to America); and live-show co-star, comic Tom Dreesen 



Sammy Davis had comic Tom Dreesen intersperse
 comedy in between shows' singing and dancing
(comedian with 61 Late Night TV appearances, who opened Frank Sinatra's shows for decades) who discussed Sammy's Jackie-Robinson-like role in breaking-through segregated entertainment venues. 



Rounding out the panel were Sammy's youngest son Manny, and film-historian Stan Taffel who led the discussion the guests' experiences with (and knowledge about) Sammy. 


As Sammy Davis surprised Archie Bunker with a kiss while the pair posed
taking a snapshot on "All in the Family" episode Feb 1972, Stan Taffel and
and Manny Davis re-enact that moment in the lobby of Laemmle's Ahrya
Fine Arts Cinema in Beverly Hills. (original pic: CBS Landov/NY Times)
JooTube asked Manny just how Jewish was Sammy and his household? Manny said, "He really was Jewish. He always practiced his faith, he always made sure that he didn't work on Yom Kippur and things like that. Those are things I was able to celebrate with him, as well. He observed the holidays. What people don't know is that his wife was Catholic. So we had a chance to celebrate both of those. We always followed the Jewish traditions and always followed the Catholic traditions.  And I was kind of raised Baptist. But either way, we celebrated everything because everybody was always welcome in our house." Watch the whole interview here:


"I've Gotta Be Me" screens again at 5pm Sunday, 29 April at Laemmle's Town Center Cinema in Encino. Check the schedule for the L.A. Jewish Film Festival for other films' times through Wednesday, May 2nd. A number of them have panel discussions with the filmmakers and casts.

For Israel's 70th birthday, CBN's produces & televises new documentary evidencing unpublicized, Israeli humanitarian efforts around the world

CBN's "To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World."  Christian Broadcasting Network's director, Erin Zimmerman, introduces new docupic "To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World" segments of which run  this week on "The 700 Club" on OTA TV and on the Free-form Cable Channel. This presentation was recorded at National Association of Broadcasters' Proclaim '18 in Nashville, Tenn at the end of February.



At NRB's Israel's 70th Independence tribute luncheon, we asked Gordon Robertson, CEO, why CBN's news and documentaries have consistently been the most reliably objective - not distorted by anti-Zionist leftist propagandists, an endemic problem among mainstream international news reporters and outlets. 

After he emceed the Israeli Tourism Ministry's joint premiere with CBN- of Erin Zimmerman's produced documentary "To Life: How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World," we caught-up with CBN News' Chris Mitchell, Israel's top English language reporter. How is CBN News the most effective English language, TV news resource internationally for Israel?


Director, Erin Zimmerman, of the Christian Broadcasting Network in Israel, offers a look inside the her documentary, "Israel: To Life!" about Israeli humanitarian volunteerism at crises around the world. Airs in segments on CBN's "The 700 Club" the week of April 16th- and is available online, on the CBN App, or  DVD for $10 from CBN.com

Las Vegas Jewish community organizes memorial for the fallen heroes and martyrs of Zion

Israel Scouts lower flag to half-mast for memorial ceremony
Diverse parts of the Las Vegas Jewish and Zionist community (among them the Jewish Federation, the IAC, and Shevet Pisgat / Israeli Scouts) joined together to organize a Memorial Ceremony combining recognition of Yom ha Shoah and Yom ha Zikaron - paying respect to Zion's fallen victims, martyrs and heroes. The event took place on April 8th at the Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas around the time of the holidays.



Daniel Szafran recounts life from Auschwitz to
Palmach soldier
91-year old survivor of Auschwitz and Israel's War of Independence, Daniel Szafran, gave personal testimony of his family's murder by Nazis, his subsequent enslavement as a laborer, and his quest for sanctuary in Palestine, joining Israel's Palmach towards Jewish defense and sovereignty in our homeland.

The ceremony offered speeches from communal leaders, such as IAC Regional Director, Noa Peri-Jensch, who told JooTube, "This day is very important to us because the next generation, the children who take freedom for granted -
IAC Regional Dir., Noa Peri-Jensch at Adelson Campus
especially living here in America being so far away from the hardships of our brothers and sisters who live in Israel. I think it's important that we incorporate them into the process of honoring the fallen soldiers, paying respect to the bereaved families - as we are also as a community preparing for the celebration of Israel (independence) which is coming up in weeks. (Video of this, along with others, is viewable in the playlist above).

Educational and cultural event pleases Las Vegas Jewish
community benefactors, Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson 

Dr. Miriam Adelson plays a special role in advancing Zionist education in Nevada, along with Jewish advocate husband, Sheldon, Chairman of the Las Vegas Sands corporation. 

Mr. Adelson told JooTube, "This is a very special event. There's hardly a family in Israel that hasn't had a death (in connection with the state's survival) a relative or friend injured or dead. And it's an honor to come to attend to pay respects. (Educating our youth) is the purpose of this school (we foster)."