A combination of movie summaries and Divrei Torah (words of Torah), this book is a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys movies and relates to Jewish principles. Connecting movies with Torah elements, Rabbi Herbert Cohen, PhD, presents a unique blend of a lifetime of movie going with Jewish learning. Cohen’s own academic background is eclectic and rich and this aides him in linking the world of movies to the world of Torah. There is a lovely anecdote in the early part of the book about the first time Rabbi Cohen heard Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik at YU, which helps the reader to understand his life and influences. The book is divided into topic areas, which include parenting, improving yourself, growing older, adversity, relationships, sports, decisions, second chances, time, and ethics. The movies referenced include a wonderful blend of old classics and new bolder titles (e.g., Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Rocky, 127 hours, the Hurt Locker, and Inception, to name a few). An index of movie titles is provided in the back of the book.
This book is well done, and each entry is fairly short making for a quick read. The book can be used in many ways by different groups of people. While Herbert Cohen is an Orthodox rabbi, readers will find his entries quite universal and palatable.
This review appeared in the AJL Reviews September/October 2015 issue.