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September 13, 2015 11:23 am

Jewish Hollywood Bigwigs to Suspend Deal-Making for Rosh Hashanah Holiday

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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The Hollywood sign. Photo: Wikipedia.

The iconic Hollywood sign. Photo: Wikipedia.

Jewish film industry executives in Toronto said they would place their business dealings on hold until after Rosh Hashanah this week,  The Hollywood Reporter said on Sunday.

Though the holiday lasts two full days, Joseph N. Cohen, president of American Entertainment Investors, said he will be “out of pocket for business” starting sundown on Sunday through sundown on Monday. He told the publication he couldn’t imagine any business he might do over the holiday that couldn’t be “postponed for 24 hours.”

He added, “After all, it’s not like I have to pitch the opening game of the World Series — and Sandy Koufax didn’t do that either.”

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Paul Bronfman, chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios, told the publication that although he doesn’t regularly attend synagogue and is not religious, he observes Rosh Hashanah. He explained, “It’s just a tradition of mine.”

“I’m traditional and I like to commemorate the holidays,” said Bronfman, who is also chairman and CEO of production equipment supplier William F. White International. “Maybe it’s my Jewish guilt. Maybe it’s my upbringing. I don’t just feel right working on the days of Rosh Hashanah.”

Bronfman said he will resume business on Tuesday at 5 p.m. with his annual party for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The 10-day festival overlaps this year with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — an overlap that also occurred in 2010 and 2013.

Other Jewish players in the Toronto film-making scene also said they would observe Rosh Hashanah, but declined to go on the record so as not to give their competitors an edge, The Hollywood Reporter said. Others said they will be trying their best to honor the holiday while still tending to business.

Jeffrey Greenstein, president of international sales and distribution for Nu Image, said the TIFF conflict with the Jewish holidays results in some Jewish buyers not attending the film festival. However, he said, he does not have that option. Instead, he tries to manage the best way he can.

“One year 
I had to fly on Yom Kippur, and so I fasted on the plane and downloaded a siddur on my iPad to say my prayers while I had to travel,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “This year, I tried to keep my dinner open on Rosh Hashanah to celebrate, but when Lionsgate U.K. couldn’t make our earlier time, naturally I agreed. I won’t stop doing business these days, but I will find a way to honor the holiday.”

DDA partner and president Dana Archer also admitted that she can’t afford to halt business because of Rosh Hashanah. Her company will screen four films on Sunday, making it their “busiest day,” she said.

“I can’t really slow down,” she said. “I will just have a lot of repenting to do post-TIFF, pre-Kippur.”

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