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Spertus Presents Paul Mazursky's Yippee

Spertus Presents Paul Mazursky's Yippee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     

For more information contact:   

Brian Zimmerman
Spertus Marketing & Communications Associate or 312.322.1724

Betsy Gomberg 
Spertus Director of Marketing & Communications or 312.322.1756 



Screening at Spertus, Sunday, September 9 at 2 pm

Post-screening panel features expert on Eastern European Jewry


(CHICAGO) Spertus presents Yippee: A Journey to Jewish Joy, a documentary in which Academy Award-nominated director, actor, and screenwriter Paul Mazursky takes a madcap journey to a gathering in Uman, Ukraine. Every year thousands of Hasidic Jewish men travel to Uman to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. This screening takes place Sunday, September 9 at 2 pm at Spertus, 610 S. Michigan Avenue.

When Paul Mazursky’s optician tells him about the yearly pilgrimage thousands of Hasidic men make to Rabbi Nachman’s gravesite to experience ultimate joy through singing, praying, and dancing, Mazursky feels compelled to experience it for himself. Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (1772–1810) had told his followers to come to his grave every year on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and they will be forgiven of their sins. Nachman was the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic movement.

Paul Mazursky has directed award-winning films such as Enemies: A Love Story, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Harry and Tonto, and has acted in scores of movies and television shows. He is known to today’s television fans for his roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Sopranos. Mazursky, whose grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine, is of Jewish origin but not observant, so this journey for him was an opportunity to see his family’s homeland as well as to experience a more religious way of life.

A post-screening discussion will be led by Dr. Joshua Shanes,associate professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston. Dr. Shanes, whose research focuses on Central and East European Jewry in the 19th and 20th centuries, will be a wonderful guide to the type of Jewish practice Mazursky encounters in Uman, a practice unlike what most Americans, Jewish or not, have witnessed. A native of Chicago, Dr. Shanes has published widely on Jewish cultural and political history.

Tickets for the screening and discussion are $18 ($8 for students) and can be purchased online at spertus.eduor by phone at 312.322.1773. Discount parking is available for $10 with Spertus validation at the Essex Inn, two blocks south of Spertus. 

Spertus is located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. Discount parking is available for $10 with Spertus validation at the Essex Inn, two blocks south of Spertus at 8th Street and Michigan Avenue.

Spertus is a center for Jewish learning and culture
that invites people of all backgrounds to explore the multifaceted Jewish experience. 

Spertus offers accredited graduate-level degree programs in areas that are critical to the Jewish and wider communities—including Jewish studies, leadership training, and nonprofit management. Recognizing that learning is sparked by many points of entry, Spertus also presents public lectures, seminars, exhibits, concerts, and films, grounded in Jewish thought and open to all.

Programs are offered at Spertus’ innovative facility on Chicago’s historic South Michigan Avenue, at locations in the Chicago suburbs, and in select cities across North America.

For more information, please visit         


Spertus is a partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

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Paul Mazursky Shaking HandsPaul Mazursky with New Friends

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Paul MazurskyPaul Mazursky 

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