Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hebrew Hammer for the Holidays. Shaft on Shabatt

Guess what's on the holiday offerings on Netflix streaming? This one  is pretty much for those who can appreciate Jewish in-jokes (which I can as a Chinese American who went to college in Boston. They think they own the place over there, but they might be right, we only have a couple of Jewish enclaves in Seattle, Mercer Island and Seward Park) 

It's a Jewish take on blacksploitation films that grossed $20M for a $1M budget. It even features a misplaced Chinese character.  If you don't mind a movie that makes Jews look like a bunch of silly schmucks and Christians like a bunch of crusading anti-Semites in the name of laughs, it's fine if you turn off your PC filter first, otherwise brace yourself. Like I say, if it's ethnic humor, it had better be pretty damn funny, and it's pretty funny in spots.

The Hebrew Hammer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the film; for the current baseball player, see Ryan Braun
The Hebrew Hammer

DVD cover
Directed byJonathan Kesselman
Produced byLisa Fragner
Josh Kesselman
Sofia Sondervan
Written byJonathan Kesselman
StarringAdam Goldberg
Judy Greer
Andy Dick
Mario Van Peebles
Music byMichael Cohen
CinematographyKurt Brabbee
Editing byDean Holland
Distributed byComedy Central Films
Strand Releasing
Release date(s)January 23, 2003 (Sundance Film Festival)
December 8, 2003 (television premier)
December 19, 2003 (limited theatrical release)
Running time85 mins.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish, Hebrew,Yiddish
Budget$1,300,000 (USD)
The Hebrew Hammer is a 2003 American film directed by Jonathan Kesselman. It starsAdam GoldbergJudy GreerAndy DickMario Van Peebles, and Peter Coyote. The plot concerns a Jewish crime fighter known as the Hebrew Hammer who must save Hanukkahfrom the evil son of Santa Claus who wants to destroy Hanukkah and make everyone celebrate Christmas.
The film parodies blaxploitation films, and features Melvin Van Peebles in a cameo as "Sweetback".




The movie begins with a flashback to a young Mordechai Jefferson Carver. At school, Mordechai is tormented by his fellow students and his teacher for being a Jewish child in a Christian school, and celebrating Hanukkah while everyone else celebrates Christmas. He feels further alienated as he walks through his neighborhood and sees a seemingly endless number of Christmas decorations and window displays celebrating the holiday. As he lies down on the sidewalk, and spins his dreidel to cheer himself up, a Santa Claus walks by and crushes the toy under his foot, then gives Mordechai the finger.
The scene then changes to Mordechai as a retired Captain in the Israel Defense Forces. He is now the Hebrew Hammer, a Certified Circumcised Dick who has dedicated his life to defending Jews. His snappy dress (a cross between that of a pimp and a Hasidic Jew) and tough-guy demeanor have made him a local hero within the Jewish community. Christians and Jews have enjoyed a tenuous peace over the previous few decades, in part because Santa (the son of the cruel Santa who stomped Mordechai's dreidel years earlier) has pursued a policy of inclusion and tolerance. This Santa is murdered and replaced by his own son, Damian, who seeks to restore and exploit the mutual mistrust by destroying Hanukkah and preserving December for Christmas alone. Mordechai is reluctantly recruited to stop Damien, gaining allies along the way, including love interest Esther and a gang of Kwanzaa supporters.


There are cameos by Melvin Van Peebles and Ed Koch.

[edit]Production notes

"No Animals or Gentiles were harmed in the making of this Motion Picture."[1]


The Hebrew Hammer parodies many common stereotypes about Jews. During filming, the movie came to the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, who were concerned that it might promote unfavorable images of Jews. (The film happens to include a direct parody of the ADL.) Additionally, many Christian groups argued that the film portrayed most Christians as anti-Semitic and intolerant. After viewing the film, Warren Katz of the Anti-Defamation League brought legal action against the producers of the film, but lost in a summary ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court – Northern District of New York.
Many scenes were shot in Borough ParkBrooklyn, which has a large community of Hasidic Jews. Filmmakers were initially concerned that members of the Hasidic community might protest the movie, as they did with the 1998 film A Price Above Rubies, and shut down filming. Reaction of the Hasidim in Borough Park was mixed, however, no organized protest was pursued, and some residents of the neighborhood actually agreed to appear as extras in the movie.


The film receives a rating of 52% on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes.[2]


[edit]External links

The Hebrew Hammer Poster

The Hebrew Hammer(2003)

R  85 min  -  Comedy   -  25 March 2004 (Australia)
Your rating:
Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,152 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 49 user | 34 critic | 13 from
An orthodox Jewish blaxploitation hero saves Hanukkah from the clutches of Santa Claus's evil son.


Jonathan Kesselman


Mordechai Jefferson Carver, aka the Hebrew Hammer, is an orthodox Jewish stud who goes on a mission to save Hanukkah. When Santa Claus's evil son Damian is pushed over the edge by his father's liberal policies, he does away with the Christian patriarch. Subsequently stepping into his father's role, Damian launches a campaign to eradicate the Jewish Holiday. The Hammer joins forces with Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal, the gorgeous and dangerous daughter of the leader of the Jewish Justice League; and his brother-in-arms Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim, the head of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, to topple Santa's evil progeny and to save Hanukkah for future generations of Jews. Written by Sujit R. Varma  
Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

 Jewish | Hanukkah | Blaxploitation | Spoof | Three Word Title  | See more »


 This Hanukkah, All He Wants For Christmas Are Santa's Two Front Teeth See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual references and drug use See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 View content advisory »


Official Sites:

 official site | Add/edit official sites  »




 English | Hebrew | Yiddish

Release Date:

  (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

 Héber pöröly See more »

Box Office Oy Veh???


 $1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $19,539 (USA) (21 December 2003) (8 Screens)


 $19,539 (USA) (21 December 2003)
See more »

Company Credits

Show detailed company contact information on IMDbPro »


Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Shabbat shalom, motherf***!
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Mrs. Carver: So, what are your plans for after the wedding?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Kill you.
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: [praying with tefillin] Baruch atah adonoi... I don't know what the hell I'm saying.
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: What you doing?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: I'm prayin' to God we don't kill ourselves gettin' over this wall.
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Let's dance the hora.
Damian Claus: You're a hora!
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: [talking on the phone] I need you to get in contact with the Worldwide Jewish Media Conspiracy and mass-produce every holiday movie that has a Jewish protagonist who is depicted in a positive light.
JJL Chief Bloomenbergensteinenthal: So you want me to mass produce "Yentl," "Fiddler on the Roof," and Chaim Potok's "The Chosen"?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Right.
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Mrs. Carver: What with all the attention the newspapers and television has been giving you, you'd think you were the Pope or something.
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Damian Claus: [trying to distract Mordechai] OH, LOOK! A bowl of Matzoh-ball soup!
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: [looks away] Yum.
[Damian runs]
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Damian Claus: You numb-nutted, gimpy little bitch!
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Hey, you don't wanna pick up this penny?
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Nooooooooo!
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Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: The Hebrew Hammer, Jew boy, my main-man Kike.
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim, my main nigga.
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Wassup, dog?
[Mordechai and Mohammed high-five]
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Wassup?
White Accountant: [incredulously] Y-you just called him a Kike. And you, you just called him a Nigger!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Well, it's okay when *we* calls each other that.
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Yeah, that's how it goes.
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Yeah.
White Accountant: [utterly dumbfounded] Oh.
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Damian Claus: [shouts] Watch it with the fcking cane!
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Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Who brings in the dope?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Who brings in the guns?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Who brought in that disco?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: Who brings in that naaaasty-aaaass Jheri curl?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: And who tries to put they motherckin' foot up Kwanzaa's ass?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: That's right!
Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim: [Much later] And who brought in Britney Spears?
Members of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front: The white man!
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Now, the key of undercover work... is to blend in, OK? You act as a gentile would.
Esther: Right.
Samples Woman: Could I interest you in a free-sample bacon cheeseburger?
Esther: [Esther gasps]
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: [affects a middle-America accent] Um, well, I thank you, gentile friend, for your generous offer of that... *deliciously* unkosher snack. I... sadly have to decline... for I already stuffed myself full of milk and meat products at a previous lunch engagement.
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: [smiles a toothy grin]
Esther: You're good.
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[Tim's cane is taken away and he falls to the ground]
Tiny Tim: My cane!
[On the verge of crying]
Tiny Tim: Give me back my cane! F.
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Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Wait, wait hold on a sec. I didn't want to have to do this but you leave me no choice. I'm now going to resort to the most dangerous, deadly weapon in the Jewish arsenal.
[briefly meditates, then continues in a nasal voice]
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: What, I shlep all the way up here for this? I come all the way to the North Pole to fight you, you don't put out anything to nosh on?
Damian Claus: You're hungry?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: I mean, seriously, what kind of arch nemesis are you?
Damian Claus: Sorry, I wasn't thinking I guess. Oh! Oh, no you don't! You're not going to pull Jewish guilt crap on me, I'm a lot stronger than that Mordechai.
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Okay forget it, never mind.
Damian Claus: What?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: No, nothing.
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Tell me, what?
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Well, I mean, I don't know what kind of host it is that treats their company this way. Esther is clearly unhappy with the guest room you've provided her with. I'm shvitzing from running around all over the place shooting people.
Damian Claus: Stop this!
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: What kind of flooring is this anyway, my feet are killing me. Not to mention, I don't get a proper hello when I come in.
[he continues and horns blow]
Damian Claus: Please stop, just take my gun!
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: No.
Damian Claus: Take the gun!
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Forget about it
Damian Claus: I insist on you taking the gun!
Mordechai Jefferson Carver: Okay.
Damian Claus: [points to his temple] Put a bullet right here! Take me out of my misery please!
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Mrs. Highsmith: I hope you've all learned a very important lesson today. Just because Mordechai's people are different from us, and just because they may appear strange to us with their furry hats, beady eyes, and long sideburns, not to mention their bizarre customs and unnecessarily gutteral funny-sounding names. Just because they control ALL of the world's money, yet they are too cheap to buy their children anything better than spinning tops for presents, does not mean that we can't learn to love and respect them as our equals. Happy chanuyakah day 7, Mordy!
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