Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

iPad Gift Catapults Jewish Mother to Internet Stardom

December 10, 2013

This interview was first published as “Wisdom From the Mouth of a Jewish Mother” in The Times of Israel.

Filmmaker Joshua Seftel and his mother, Pat Seftel, the star of 'My Mom on Movies.' (photo credit: Phillip Toledano)

Filmmaker Joshua Seftel and his mother, Pat Seftel, the star of ‘My Mom on Movies.’ (photo credit: Phillip Toledano)

Over the years, we’ve loved watching on-screen yiddishe mammas likeMolly GoldbergIda Morgenstern and Sheila Broflovski. Now, another woman has joined the ranks of iconic Jewish mothers. Her name is Pat Seftel, and unlike the others, she is not fictional.

Fans of this highly engaging Jewish mother haven’t been watching her on the big screen or TV. This being 2013, they’ve been tuning in over the last year on laptops and mobile devices to watch her in a YouTube series called “My Mom on Movies,” in which her award-winning filmmaker son Joshua Seftel interviews her on everything from Justin Bieber’s monkeyMiley Cyrus’s twerking to the Boston Red Sox players’ beards.

Pat Seftel is in her 70s, winters in Sarasota, Florida and summers in Schenectady, New York. She never imagined becoming a video sensation. She was “discovered,” so to speak, when her children gave her an iPad as a birthday gift. They wanted Pat, a widow whose husband died in 2009, to stay in touch with them and feel less lonely.

It didn’t take long, however, for her director son to realize that there would be many people out there who would want to get in on his weekly conversations with his mother on FaceTime (which Pat has a tendency to call “facelift”).

The Times of Israel caught up by phone with mother and son for an interview about their professionally exciting and emotionally rewarding joint venture.

Click here to read the interview and watch some videos.

©2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Challah Sparks Riot Accusations

August 9, 2011

This post first appeared as “Jews Criticized for Handing Out Challah to Tottenham Rioters” on The Shmooze blog of the Forward.

While most of the ultra-Orthodox residents of the North and South London neighborhoods affected by the recent rioting in the city have heeded rabbinic directives to stay indoors and out of harm’s way, some young Hasidic men did not last Saturday night. And what they were doing has given rise to some nasty finger pointing against the Jewish community.

Were these Yeshiva bochers out burning buildings, torching cars or looting stores? No, they were standing on the streets of Tottenham handing out bread (Challah, reportedly) from cardboard boxes to people around them.

But someone filmed this activity and posted it — oddly set to classical music — on YouTube, under the title “Tottenham Riots Conspiracy.” Then, as might be expected, anti-Semitic vitriol started flowing in the comments section. The poster of the video insinuated that these Jewish men were literally feeding the burning anger of the rioters. “Why are Jewish community members giving out fresh bread to the rioters? Why are they encouraging more violence and fuelling them?” he or she wrote.

Click here to read more.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Finch To Museum

March 11, 2011

This article was first published as “TTC enthusiasts turn a commute into entertainment” in The Globe and Mail.

For two hard-working and ambitious University of Toronto students, it’s not only about where they are going, but also how they get there.

Amid Toronto subway riders indifferently snoozing, reading or just staring off into space on their morning commutes, friends Audrey Amar and Erin Brassel sit at the very front of the train, talking excitedly into a handheld camera. Diehard public-transit enthusiasts and extroverts, they have turned their daily travels into a YouTube show about their shared fascination with the inner workings of the TTC.

Over the course of 2 1/2 years of filming Finch to Museum (named for the stations marking the beginning and end points of their commute), the women, both 22, have perfected their funny man/straight man routine. The fiery and slightly zany Ms. Amar plays easily off the demure, brainy Ms. Brassel. It is not hard to guess which one of them is the drama major.

Click here to read more.

And here are two of the Finch To Museum videos. The first is their latest one, and the second is the one they made about the Lower Bay ghost station. Enjoy – and learn!

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.