Acclaimed Film Sholem Aleichem Now Available from Alexander Street Press | Alexander Street

Acclaimed Film Sholem Aleichem Now Available from Alexander Street Press

October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 (ALEXANDRIA, VA) – The critically acclaimed 2011 film Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness is now available to educational institutions in DVD and online streaming formats exclusively from Alexander Street Press.

The film, which profiles the man many consider “the Jewish Mark Twain,” has received numerous accolades, earning a place as a New York Times critic’s pick, a 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and considerable box office success.

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness is a riveting portrait of writer Sholem Aleichem, whose stories about Tevye the Milkman became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Aleichem (1859‒1916) was a rebellious wordsmith who created a new genre of literature and used his remarkable humor to encapsulate the realities of the Eastern European Jewish world in the late nineteenth century.

Using a rich collection of archival footage, Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness recreates an era in czarist Russia when Jews were second-class citizens and frequent scapegoats in times of social and political unrest. By founding the first Yiddish literary journal, Aleichem transformed himself into a revolutionary and helped foster the emergence of a new Jewish identity.

The film features enactments of excerpts from Aleichem’s stories, many of which turned difficult situations into high comedy and farce, and pairs them with old photographs that recall the vitality of shtetl life. Sholem Aleichem also incorporates commentaries from Aleichem’s 100-year-old granddaughter Bella Kaufman (author of Up the Down Staircase), Aaron Lansky of the Yiddish Book Center, and Professor Ruth Wisse of Harvard University.

Sholem Aleichem chronicles an important period with vigor and authenticity,” says Danny Costa, Director of Single Title Sales at Alexander Street Press. “It’s earned its reputation as an essential film for the study of Jewish history and culture.”

Sholem Aleichem is currently available for purchase on DVD and in streaming video format through the Academic Video Store at For more information, or to order the DVD, visit or email orders [at] astreetpress [dot] com.


About Alexander Street Press
Alexander Street Press is an electronic publisher of award-winning online collections and video for scholarly research, teaching, and learning. Our products are available to libraries and educational institutions worldwide via annual subscription or one-time purchase. Learn more at

Contact for Media Inquiries/Reviewer Access:
Abby Horowitz, Marketing Writer
Alexander Street Press
3212 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-212-8520 x 313
ahorowitz [at] alexanderstreet [dot] com


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