For the past eight years, the Chai Center has been holding High Holy Days services at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Theater in Beverly Hills. This year, however, just weeks before Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz received a call from the WGA indicating that, because of construction, the theater space would not be available.
When the Writers went on strike, even comedy paid a price.
The Writers Strike is a Jewish issue. How do I know that? Because everyone is saying it's not. The writers who are demanding a larger share of DVD rights and residuals for their work and the producers who refuse to give it to them both say, repeatedly, that despite the fact that so many of them happen to be Jewish, the strike is not -- as Jewish writers and producers told our senior reporter Brad Greenberg last week -- a Jewish issue. To paraphrase a Clinton-era favorite, you can be sure that when everyone is saying it's not about being Jewish, it's about being Jewish.
When I was asked by The Jewish Journal whether I'd like to write something funny about the WGA strike, I thought -- hey, there's nothing funny about this: corporate bullies refusing to pay writers for their work. This is serious. But as my friend Rob Lotterstein, creator and executive producer of Fox's "The War at Home" says, "Just because we're not writing doesn't mean we've lost our sense of humor."
Studios - Please do what's fair before things get too bloody on the streets of Los Angeles. November 14, 2007
Indeed, "Hollywood writer" is among the most Jewish job descriptions anywhere, which is why, as this long-anticipated strike approached, my editors asked me to report the news through a Jewish lens. The difficulty, however, is that this really isn't a Jewish story. It's a business story that just happens to deal with an industry built largely by Jewish immigrants and sustained by their successors.