“The Jewish Americans” begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. CT on NPT-Channel and PBS stations nationwide. Produced by David Grubin, this six-hour documentary follows 350 years of Jewish-American history, from the first settlement in the 17th century to the present, and explores the experience of immigration and assimilation. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Verne Gay at Newsday wonders “what took PBS so long?”
Barry Garron at Reuters says “A hearty mazel tov to David Grubin…on his well-organized, comprehensive and at times diplomatic story of how Jews arrived in and adapted to the United States.”
Michael Fox at The Jewish Ledger says that although “The Jewish Americans” … is an ambitious project by any measure … it is not a landmark program of lasting significance.”
“The Jewish Americans,” Fox adds, “is consistently intelligent-although occasionally bewildering in what it emphasizes or skips-but lacks daring.
Tom Shales at The Washington Post writes, “deftly deploying the documentarian’s tools — old photographs and film, celebrity commentators, evocative music — Grubin does an admirable job at a manifestly hopeless task: telling the Jews’ story comprehensively in a mere six hours.”