The Story of the Jews debuts Tuesday on WV PBS
Written and presented by historian and critic Simon Schama, the five-hour documentary draws on Schama’s immense scholarship, his acute and original viewpoints, and his own family history in a series that is both deeply historical and bracingly contemporary.
As Schama travels the globe from Spain to California, from Berlin to Tel Aviv, he tells ancient and modern stories that illuminate the passions and perplexities of today.
The series focuses sharply on the interaction between Jewish culture and the rest of the world—the societies in which, for better and for worse, the Jews have found themselves over the millennia. Beginning with the notion of a single, faceless God, the creation of a written record of His doings, and the implications of those momentous changes, the project hopes to make Jewish history everyone’s history.
The Story of the Jews uses the most recent revelations of archaeology, which have radically changed what we know about the earliest worlds of the Jews. It is the first series to engage deeply with Jewish art and architecture: from the spectacular synagogue mosaics of the Galilean city of Sepphoris, to the intricacies of stone carving in Jewish Toledo, to the glories of the illuminated books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to the fierceness of Jewish modernists like Soutine and Chagall. It is also the first series to look at the challenge of modernity through the eyes and the words of Jewish women—poets, actresses, feminists, social reformers—for whom the invitations of modern life were exhilarating and the ordeals acute. Each of the five one-hour programs speaks to the past, as well as the present.
Episodes 1 & 2, airing March 25 beginning at 8 p.m.:
Episodes 3-5, airing April 1 beginning at 8 PM:
The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama is made possible by lead funding from The Paul & Irma Milstein Family. Major funding is generously provided by The Polonsky Foundation. Additional major support is provided by The Pershing Square Foundation, the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, James and Merryl Tisch, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the David Berg Foundation, Daniel and Joanna S. Rose, and the Lemberg Foundation. Support is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
Visit the official website for the series: www.pbs.org/StoryoftheJews