The Film

The amazing story of a group of Jewish songwriters who wrote the soundtrack to Christmas


Directed by Academy Award-nominated director, Larry Weinstein (Inside Hana’s Suitcase, Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star, Making Overtures), Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas is an offbeat, irreverent documentary that tells the story of a group of Jewish songwriters, including Irving Berlin, Mel Tormé, Jay Livingston, Ray Evans, Gloria Shayne Baker and Johnny Marks, who wrote the soundtrack to the world’s most musical holiday. It’s an amazing look at the 20th century North American immigrant experience and the extraordinary outburst of musical energy from the children of those immigrants. This new generation rejected their parents’ European past and instead embraced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and, finally, Hollywood. The outsiders began writing the soundtrack to the insiders’ American dreams and in doing so, wrote themselves into history.

Telling this story through words and song, Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas features rarely-seen archival footage, musical performances and interviews with contemporary writers and performers, as well as connoisseurs of North American popular music.

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas depicts a journey — a tale of immigrant outsiders who became irreplaceable players in pop culture’s mainstream.  They were a generation of songwriters who understood the times they were writing for and who would go on to transform themselves and pop culture at the same time.  They found in Christmas the perfect holiday in which to imagine a better world and, for at least one day a year, made us believe in it.

Featuring interviews with Ben Sidran (There Was a Fire: Jews, Music & the American Dream), Ophira Eisenberg (The Moth, NPR’s Ask Me Another), Robert Harris (Twenty Pieces of Music That Changed the World), Jennifer 8. Lee (The Fortune Cookie Chronicles), Jackie Mason, Rob Kapilow (What Makes It Great), Joshua Plaut, Lisa Geduldig (Kung Pao Kosher Comedy), Mark Breslin, Fr. Thomas Rosica, Mirjam Wenzel (Jewish Museum Frankfurt), Steve March-Tormé and Alan Dershowitz. With performances by Steven Page, Tom Wilson (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings), Dione Taylor, David Wall (The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band), Aviva Chernick and more.