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Encyclopedia > The Hebrew Hammer
DVD cover
DVD cover

The Hebrew Hammer is a film that was released in 2003. It stars Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Mario Van Peebles, and Peter Coyote. The plot concerns a Jewish superhero known as The Hebrew Hammer who must save Hanukkah from the evil son of Santa Claus who wants to destroy Hanukkah and make everyone celebrate Christmas. The film is set up as a parody of blaxploitation films (Melvin Van Peebles even appears in it, as "Sweetback"). Director Jonathan Kesselman has jokingly dubbed it the first "Jewsploitation", or Jewish exploitation film ever. Image File history File links Hebrew_Hammer_DVD_cover. ... Image File history File links Hebrew_Hammer_DVD_cover. ... Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. ... // February 24 - The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, wins 7 Cesar Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Music and Best Cinematography. ... Adam Goldberg Adam Goldberg (born October 25, 1970 in Santa Monica, California) is an American actor who typically plays the quintessential young New York Jew in many movies and TV programs of the 1990s and 2000s; including the title role of the self-parodying Jewsploitation movie The Hebrew Hammer. ... Image:Judy Greer. ... Andy Dick (born Andrew Thomlinson) December 21, 1965) is an American actor and comedian best known for his roles on TV sitcoms, including NewsRadio and Less Than Perfect. ... Mario Van Peebles (b. ... Peter Coyote Peter Coyote (born Robert Peter Cohon October 10, 1941) is an American actor and author. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... This article may contain original research or unverified claims. ... Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Festival of Rededication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday that starts on the 25th day of Kislev, which may be in December, late November, or, while very rare in occasion, early January (as was the case for the Hanukkah of 2005... A Santa Claus doll. ... Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday that marks the traditional birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth. ... Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles 1971) Blaxploitation is a film genre that emerged in the United States in the early 1970s when many exploitation films were made that targeted the urban African American audience; the word itself is a combination of the words black and exploitation. Blaxploitation... Melvin Van Peebles, as pictured on the movie poster for Melvin Van Peebles (born August 21, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actor, director, screenwriter and composer, and the father of actor and director Mario Van Peebles. ... Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song was a 1971 blaxploitation film. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and appeared at several other film festivals, Jewish and otherwise, during 2003. It had a limited theatrical run in late 2003, but the majority of its viewings came from a series of showings on Comedy Central in December of that year. This version of the movie was edited for television: all profanities were bleeped, and some scenes were cut. The DVD, released on November 16, 2004), contains the uncut version, which is rated R. The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival in the United States, and ranks alongside the Cannes, Moscow, Venice, Berlin, and Toronto festivals as one of the most prestigious in the world. ... Comedy Central is a cable television channel in the United States. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Broadcast delay. ... DVD (sometimes called Digital Versatile Disc, or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 45 days remaining. ... // Please note that these are the top grossing films that were first released in 2004; because they may have made most of their income in a later year, they may not be the top-grossing films for calendar year 2004. ... The MPAA film rating system is a system used in the United States and territories and instituted by the Motion Picture Association of America to rate a movie based on its content. ...

Contents

Synopsis

The movie begins with a flashback to a young Mordechai Jefferson Carver, who will grow up to become the Hebrew Hammer. At school, Mordechai is tormented by his fellow students and his teacher for being the only child to celebrate Hanukkah while everyone else is celebrating Christmas. After school, Mordechai walks down the street, only to see signs in all the store windows saying that Jews aren't welcome. Depressed, he lies down on the sidewalk, and spins his dreidel to cheer himself up... only to have it crushed under the foot of a mocking Santa who gives Mordechai the finger. Mordechai can do nothing but glare furiously at Santa as he walks away. Dreidel A dreidel (Hebrew: סביבון, ) is a four-sided top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. ... This article is about the gesture. ...


The scene then changes to Mordechai as an adult. He is now the Hebrew Hammer, a Certified Circumcised Dick who has dedicated his life to defending Jews. His snappy dress (a cross between the clothes of a pimp and an Orthodox Jew) and tough-guy demeanor have made him a hero to Jews everywhere. This article is being rewritten at Circumcision/temp Circumcision is the removal of some or all of the prepuce or foreskin though often the frenulum is also excised. ... A detective (also commonly called a dick or gumshoe) is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. ... A pimp finds and manages clients for a prostitute and engages them in prostitution (in brothels in most cases and some cases street prostitution) in order to profit from their earnings. ... Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmudic texts (The Oral Law) and as subsequently developed and applied by the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim. ...


But all is not well: trouble is brewing at the North Pole. Santa has just been murdered by his evil son Damian, who wants to do away with his father's tolerance for other religions and make Christmas the only holiday celebrated in December. Alarmed, an elite group of Jews calls a meeting of the Jewish Justice League, led by Chief Bloomenbergansteinenthal, who resembles Moshe Dayan. They argue about who should be sent to take on Damian, but are unable to agree until the Chief's daughter, Esther Bloomenbergansteinenthal, suggests the Hebrew Hammer. The Chief is initially reluctant to send the Hebrew Hammer (the one Jew banned from the J.J.L. for being too aggressive), but is eventually persuaded by Esther. North Pole Scenery When not otherwise qualified, the term North Pole usually refers to the Geographic North Pole – the northernmost point on the surface of the Earth, where the Earths axis of rotation intersects the Earths surface. ... The Justice League, sometimes called the Justice League of America or JLA for short, is a fictional DC Universe superhero team. ... Moshe Dayan Moshe Dayan, DSO (Hebrew: משה דיין) (May 20, 1915 – October 16, 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician. ...


Esther goes to see Mordechai, but he is initially reluctant to help the J.J.L. Esther refuses to leave his side until he promises to help, and thus ends up accompanying Mordechai to Shabbat dinner at his mother's house. Agreeing to cooperate, the two women conspire to persuade Mordechai to help the J.J.L., but in such a way that he believes that he has thought of the idea himself. The shabbos table is set: two covered challahs, a kiddush cup, two candles, and flowers. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Mordechai's first stop after meeting with the Chief is to go to the headquarters of the KLF (Kwanzaa Liberation Front). He meets with the leader of the KLF, Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahiem, a friend of his. Mohammed takes Mordechai to question a former elf of Santa's named Jamal who lost his job when Damian took over. Unbeknowst to Mordechai, Jamal is really a double agent who is working for Damian. Jamal's clues lead Mordechai to a neo-Nazi bar, but Mordechai foils Damian's plan by single-handedly defeating the skinheads. Kwanzaa (or Kwaanza) is a week-long Pan-African secular holiday primarily honoring African-American heritage. ... The terms Neo-Nazism and Neo-Fascism refer to any social or political movement to revive Nazism or Fascism, respectively, and postdates the Second World War. ... Nazi-Skinheads are a right wing subculture that developed in the United Kingdom in the first half of the 1980s. ...


Damian is not sitting idle, however: with the help of his sidekick (a grown-up Tiny Tim), he has put the next phase of his evil plan in motion, which involves distributing bootleg copies of It's A Wonderful Life to Jewish children to make them want to celebrate Christmas. Discovering this scheme, Mordechai counterattacks by exposing the Jewish children to all the Hollywood films that portray Jews in a positive light (namely Fiddler on the Roof, Yentl, and Chaim Potok's The Chosen). Tiny Tim is a fictional character in the classic story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. ... Its a Wonderful Life is a 1946 Frank Capra film, produced by his own Liberty Films and released originally by RKO Radio Pictures. ... Fiddler on the Roof is regarded as one of the most famous stage and film musicals. ... Barbara Streisand on the soundtrack cover for the movie Yentl. ... Rabbi Dr. Chaim Potok (February 17, 1929 - July 23, 2002) was an American author and rabbi. ... The Chosen is a book by Chaim Potok published in 1967. ...


Learning that Damian is appearing at a local K-Mart, Mordechai and Esther go there to confront him, disguised as a Gentile couple. Although they successfully catch Damian, he is able to turn the tables, and they are forced to flee, chased by an angry mob of children who are convinced that they want to cancel Christmas for everyone. With some help from the Underground Jewish Railroad, they are able to make their escape. new Kmart logo Kmart Corporation was a US based corporation until it merged with Sears Holdings in November 2004. ... The word Gentile from the Latin gentilis, can either be a translation of the Hebrew Goy/גוי or of the Hebrew word Nochri/נכרי. In the most common modern use it refers to the former being derived from the Latin term gens (meaning clan or a group of families) and it is...


Returning to Mordechai's apartment, he and Esther act on their mutual attraction and make love. Things go awry in the morning, however, when Mordechai learns that Esther and his mother collaborated to persuade him to work with the J.J.L., which he misinterprets to mean that his mother told Esther to sleep with him. Before they can resolve their argument, they get an urgent call from the Chief telling them to return to J.J.L. headquarters. Coition of a Hemisected Man and Woman (c. ...


At headquarters, they watch a video broadcast from Damian and Tim in which they announce their plan to drain the energy from the Jewish Atomic Clock in Jerusalem. Mordechai goes off by himself to save the clock, but is secretly followed by Esther. The two of them are reunited at the clock, but before they can defeat Damian, Shabbat begins, and they must rest. While they are resting, Damian kidnaps Esther, and orders Tim to kill Mordechai. Just as Tim is about to kill Mordechai, though, he is stopped by the Kwanzaa Liberation Front. Atomic clock Chip-Scale Atomic Clock Unveiled by NIST An atomic clock is a type of clock that uses an atomic resonance frequency standard to feed its counter. ... Panoramic view from Mt. ... The shabbos table is set: two covered challahs, a kiddush cup, two candles, and flowers. ...


Together, Mordechai and Mohammed lead an assault on the North Pole to save Esther and stop Damian once and for all. By using Judaism's ultimate weapon (complaining and guilt), Mordechai is able to defeat Damian and save Esther. He then proposes to Esther, who gladly accepts. Matrimony redirects here. ...


The movie ends at the house of Mordechai's mother, where Mordechai and Esther are having dinner. As they dine, they see Santa's sleigh in the air, driven by Jamal, the new Santa Claus.


Jewish in-jokes

While the movie is intended to be enjoyed by Jews and non-Jews alike, there are certain jokes that require some explanation if the viewer is not familiar with Judaism.

  • The name of the Hebrew Hammer is a reference to the story of Hanukkah, in which Judas Maccabeus helped retake the Temple in Jerusalem. "Judas Maccabeus" literally means "Judah the Hammer".
  • The two protagonists are named Mordechai and Esther, a reference to Purim.
  • Both Mordechai and the Chief refer to God as "G-dash-D" when speaking. This is a play on the tendency of some Jews to write 'G-d' instead of 'God' when referring to the Lord. This is due to the Jewish belief that the Name of God is holy, and should therefore not be written on a surface when it can be casually discarded or destroyed (e.g. a piece of paper). Although Jewish law technically only requires this level of care if the name of God is written in Hebrew, many Jews adopt this restriction in English discourse.
  • The phrase "Shabbat shalom" literally means "peaceful Sabbath" in Hebrew, and is a commonly heard greeting among Jews on the Sabbath (some Jews prefer the Yiddish "Gut shabbes"). Several characters in the movie use this phrase in unusual ways: Mordechai uses it as an exclamation before attacking the neo-Nazis ("Shabbat shalom, motherfuckers!"), and Esther uses it flirtatiously before engaging in oral sex with Mordechai.
  • When the Chief is trying to bring the meeting of the Jewish Justice League to order, he shouts, "Sheket B'vakasha!" repeatedly. This is Hebrew for "Quiet please!", and is familiar to unruly Hebrew school students everywhere as a teacher's admonition for the class to pipe down.
  • At the meeting of the JJL, a seat placed behind the microphone on the dais allocated to the "League of Jewish Athletes" is conspicuously vacant, a self-deprecatory gag based on the supposed reluctance of American Jews to engage in competitive sports in favor of "intellectual" pursuits (a gag repeated in another scene as one of Damian/Santa's lascivious female assistants, introduced to Mordechai, says that she loves Jewish men because they are so intellectual, a stereotype that Mordechai plays to by commencing a pseudo-intellectual conversation intended to impress her further (he stops when he notices the jewelled cross lying in her cleavage and is suddenly brought to his senses since no Jewish man would ever date a "shiksa", a Gentile woman).
  • While disguised as a Gentile couple, Mordechai and Esther are offered a free sample of bacon cheeseburgers, which violate several of the laws of Kashrus, (see kosher,) namely the prohibition against eating pork and the prohibition against mixing meat and dairy products.
  • While storming Santa's hideout, Mordechai uses a tallit as a headband and tefillin as a climbing rope.
  • When Mordechai is praying before breaking into Santa's hideout, he says the following prayer: "Baruch atai adonai...I don't know what the hell I'm saying...". This is a parody of the Hebrew phrase "Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'alom", which means "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe". This phrase begins many Hebrew berakhot (blessings). As Mordechai is using the phrase while praying before the wall of the hideout, the scene is a send-up of many Jews who recite the prayer without understanding its meaning, and those who visit Israel and begin praying in Hebrew before the Western Wall, only to realize that they do not have the slightest idea how to say a single complete prayer in Hebrew.

Judas Maccabeus (or Judah the Maccabee from the Hebrew יהודה המכבי transliteration: Yehudah HaMakabi) translation: Judah the Hammer was the third son of the Jewish priest Mattathias. ... The protagonist or main character is the central figure of a story. ... Purim (Hebrew: פורים Pûrîm Lots, from Akkadian pÅ«ru) is a joyous Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of Persian Jews from Hamans plot to exterminate them, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther. ... At the bottom of the hands, the two letters on each hand combine to form יהוה (YHWH), the name of God. ... Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה; also transliterated as Halakhah, Halacha, Halakhot and Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law as well as customs and traditions. ... The shabbos table is set: two covered challahs, a kiddush cup, two candles, and flowers. ... Look up Shalom in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Hebrew redirects here. ... Yiddish (ייִדיש, Jiddisch) is a Germanic language spoken by about four million Jews throughout the world. ... Exclamation may refer to one of the following. ... Oral sex consists of all the sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, tongue, and possibly throat to stimulate genitalia. ... The word Gentile from the Latin gentilis, can either be a translation of the Hebrew Goy/גוי or of the Hebrew word Nochri/נכרי. In the most common modern use it refers to the former being derived from the Latin term gens (meaning clan or a group of families) and it is... Bacon is any of certain cuts of meat taken from the sides, back or belly of a pig, cured and possibly smoked. ... A cheeseburger is a hamburger with cheese on top of the meat. ... The circled U indicates that this can of tuna is certified kosher by the Union of Orthodox Congregations. ... Two halves of a pig being delivered Pork is the meat taken from pigs. ... Flesh redirects here. ... Dairy farm near Oxford, New York A dairy is a facility for the extraction and processing of animal milk (mostly from cows, sometimes from buffalo, sheep or goats) and other farm animals, for human consumption. ... The tallit (Modern Hebrew: ) or tallet(h) (Sephardi Hebrew: ), also called talles (Yiddish), is a prayer shawl cloak that is worn during the morning Jewish services (the Shacharit prayers) in Judaism, during the Torah service, and on Yom Kippur. ... Tefillin (Hebrew: תפלין), also called phylacteries, are either of two boxes containing Biblical verses and black, leather straps attached to them which are used in rabbinic Jewish prayer. ... Listed below are some Hebrew prayers and blessings that are part of Judaism that are recited by many Jews. ... Look up blessing in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Western Wall by night Wailing Wall redirects here. ...

Controversy

The Hebrew Hammer parodies many common stereotypes about Jews. Some Jews find this insulting rather than amusing. In modern usage, a stereotype is a simplified mental picture of an individual or group of people who share a certain characteristic (or stereotypical) qualities. ...


During filming, the movie came to the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, who were concerned that it might promote unfavorable images of Jews. After viewing it, they concluded that the film was not antisemitic in any way. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is becoming very long. ...


Many scenes were shot in Borough Park, Brooklyn, which has a large community of Hasidic Jews. Filmmakers were initially concerned that they might protest the movie, as they did with the 1998 film A Price Above Rubies, and shut down filming. To their relief, the reaction of the Hasidim in Borough Park was almost uniformly positive, and several residents of the neighborhood show up as extras in the movie. Borough Park street covered with snow. ... Brooklyn (named for the Dutch city Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. ... Hasidic Judaism (Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ...


Trivia

  • When Adam Goldberg first got the script, he was reading it and got to the scene where his character would shout "SHABBAT SHALOM, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!" It was at that moment that he decided to do the movie, if for no other reason than to say that line.
  • In the scene depicting the morning after Mordechai and Esther make love, it's clear that Mordechai has several tattoos, which are forbidden in traditional Judaism. Adam Goldberg has stated in interviews that the only reason for this is that he was too lazy to get up early in the morning to have the makeup artists cover up the tattoos. The tattoos go without comment in the dialogue because, according to director Jonathan Kesselman, the Hebrew Hammer has already gone against tradition by engaging in premarital sex, and so a couple of tattoos are nothing compared to that.
  • Damian's name is a likely reference to The Omen, in which the boy Damien is the anti-christ.
  • The movie is reminiscent of another blaxploitation spoof, Undercover Brother, which came out at about the same time. Both films have a scene in which the hero must pass a test of ethnicity in order be admitted to his organization's headquarters.
  • Ed Koch has a cameo as himself in he movie.

Adam Goldberg Adam Goldberg (born October 25, 1970 in Santa Monica, California) is an American actor who typically plays the quintessential young New York Jew in many movies and TV programs of the 1990s and 2000s; including the title role of the self-parodying Jewsploitation movie The Hebrew Hammer. ... A tattoo is a mark made by inserting pigment into the skin; in technical terms, tattooing is micro-pigment implantation. ... Cosmetics or makeup are substances to enhance the beauty of the human body, apart from simple cleaning. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist is a person or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth. ... Undercover Brother is a 2002 comedy starring Eddie Griffin. ... Ed Koch Edward Irving Koch (born December 12, 1924; pronounced to rhyme with scotch) was a United States Representative from 1969 to 1977 and the Mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989. ... 2002 Lincoln cent, obverse, proof with cameo Cameo is a method of carving, or an item of jewelry made in this manner. ...

External links

  • The official web site for the movie
  • The Hebrew Hammer at the Internet Movie Database
  • Clip of the (in)famous "Shabbat Shalom Motherfuckers!" scene at YouTube

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Hebrew Hammer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1800 words)
He is now the Hebrew Hammer, a Certified Circumcised Dick who has dedicated his life to defending Jews.
The name of the Hebrew Hammer is a reference to the story of Hanukkah, in which Judas Maccabeus helped retake the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is Hebrew for "Quiet please!", and is familiar to unruly Hebrew school students everywhere as a teacher's admonition for the class to pipe down.
CNN - Fatal shooting by N.Y. police draws protest - August 31, 1999 (730 words)
He had a hammer, not a gun," said one woman in the crowd.
Busch was involved in another hammer attack on Sunday, when he used the tool to dent a parked car and hit a man who was in the car, police said.
Busch, who was wearing a prayer shawl and leather pouches containing pieces of scripture when he was shot, was not raised in the Orthodox community but had recently moved there and was becoming more religious.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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