Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Film Director Goes to the Fans for Hebrew Hammer Sequel

January 22, 2013 2:07 am 1 comment

Hebrew Hammer DVD cover. Photo: Wikipedia

When Jonathan Kesselman wrote the script for The Hebrew Hammer , he couldn’t have imagined the following it would attract. Filmed in 2002, and released in 2003, it’s initial acceptance to Sundance Film Festival, and subsequent release in a handful of theaters across the country would signal a success for most any filmmaker. But it was soon plucked from possible obscurity by TV executives. Ask anybody about the film now and, even if they haven’t watched it, they’re likely to at least remember seeing a commercial or advertisement for the film from its five-years on the Comedy Central television network. This cemented its cult status, which was great, but didn’t exactly mean Hollywood was jumping at a sequel. Fast forward ten years and a lot of fruitless discussions with production companies and distributors and Kesselman’s follow up, titled The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler may finally be getting the green light, albeit with the help of some new fundraising tactics.

“It was like mission impossible,” Kesselman told The Algemeiner of trying to get Hollywood to produce the film. “I’ve had multiple movies that have fallen apart and I realized there’s a big fan base for this movie over the last ten years and I just figured why not just go to the fans. I thought ‘Why am I going to a bunch of people who are paid to say no?’ I knew there was the big fan base and I knew crowd funding was a new way of making movies and getting a film going and getting attention and the reaction has been amazing.”

What Kesselman did was start a campaign on the Jewish crowd funding site Jewcer. Individuals are able to donate money, and in return, besides getting the pleasure of helping to finance the film, receive prizes.

Thus far the film is nowhere near the $200,000 it initially set as its goal, but with the deadline date of January 28th close at hand Kesselman isn’t fretting about that figure: that’s because $50,000 is the key number. At that point the fundraising is activated and Kesselman can collect donations. Anything below that and it’s as if the campaign never even happened. Right now he’s about $5,000 away.

“Once I get to $50,000 I’ll be relaxed, I’ll be calm,” He told the Algemeiner.

Kesselman hasn’t simply relied on new media either. Last Thursday he held a fundraiser at an apartment in Manhattan. A mint Jewlip (vodka, white wine Manishewitz—some other fun stuff) was the drink of choice, a stiff libation meant to loosen up everyone’s bidding hand. The silent auction featured original props from the first film, signed photo stills and original scripts. One attendee had flown down from Edmonton for the day to join in on the fun. He was representative of the type of fan Kesselman is hoping will offer support to the movie. Having personally donated $10,000 to the drive, the Canadian insisted that he’d spent the ten years since the release of the Hebrew Hammer checking the internet nearly every day in the hopes of finding any news he could about a sequel.

Lucky for him, having almost given up on the film Kesselman figured he’d give it one last shot. “It’s the best script I’ve ever written in terms of comedy,” Kessleman told The Algemeiner. He says he’s lined up most of the principle cast members from the Hebrew Hammer. Adam Goldberg, who played the eponymous lead, and Judy Greer, who played the love interest, have both committed to the film. The other major role to fill will be that of Hitler. At the fundraiser the overwhelming favorite was Sacha Baron Cohen.

Kesselman isn’t out of the woods just yet, but the sense of relief he feels at not having to rely on Hollywood to get his film made is palpable. Instead, there’s a certain joy and excitement one can detect when Kesselman speaks of the whole crowd funding process. “My analogy,” he said,  “is jumping off a cliff and hoping that the fans would catch me. And I think they have.”

1 Comment

  • The reason no one really wants to do this, other than Kesselman and hardcore devotees, is because the first one was fairly terrible. Sure there was an amusing scene or two, and maybe someone else could do better with a sequel, but in Kesselman’s hands most everyone seems to know how bad Hebrew Hammer was. And that wouldn’t bode well for a sequel. Given the abundance of directions he could have gone, he couldn’t even conjure up close to a winner the first time. Shabbat Shalom, MF.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →