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Hebrew Hammer (Film) Records

Identifier: I-539

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains production notes, set designs, and several props from the movie, The Hebrew Hammer.


  • undated, 2001-2003


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility. Separated museum material (1 Sandy Koufax lunch box) is accessible only with the special permission of the Director of Library and Archives. Reproductions of set designs are the copyright of Cabot McMullen and may not be reproduced without permission of the designer.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011


Biographical / Historical

The Hebrew Hammer was a 2003 comedy written and directed by Jonathan Kesselman that starred Adam Goldberg as the Hebrew Hammer, with a cast that included Andy Dick, Judy Greer, Sean Whalen, Mario Van Peebles, Peter Coyote, Tony Cox, and Nora Dunn, among others.

The plot centered on Mordecai Jefferson Carver (aka “The Hebrew Hammer”), a private investigator who defends Jews. Mordecai joins forces with Muhammad (Mario Van Peebles), leader of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, in order to defeat the evil deeds of Santa’s son, Damian (Andy Dick), who threatens to destroy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa permanently during the Christmas season.

The film is based on “Blaxploitation” films such as Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and Gordon Parks’ Shaft, which were (according to the now-defunct website to the original movie), “reactions to Hollywood’s inability or unwillingness to portray strong, sexy Black characters in the early 70s, Kesselman’s “Hammer” is his way of creating a new hero for a new generation.”1

The film attracted some controversy when first released, particularly from the Anti-Defamation League, who were portrayed in the movie as the “Jewish Justice League” as well as some Christian groups who felt that the movie disparaged Jews and Christians alike. The film was shot in and around Borough Park, Brooklyn, with a high concentration of Hasidic Jews, who normally are not open to movie shoots in the area. However, though the reaction to the movie shoot was mixed, there were no protests against the filming and some members of the community were extras in the film.2


  1. 1 “The Hebrew Hammer.” Wayback Machine Archive: Accessed December 5, 2012.
  2. 2 "The Hebrew Hammer." Accessed December 5, 2012.


1.5 Linear Feet (1 OS2 box plus one museum item)


The Hebrew Hammer was a 2003 movie written and directed by Jonathan Kesselman and starring Adam Goldberg as the Hebrew Hammer. The collection contains production notes, copies of the set design, and several props from the movie.


The collection is arranged into a single series as follows:

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

Donated by Jonathan Kesselman, 2007.

Guide to the Records of the Hebrew Hammer (Film), undated, 2001-2003   *I-539
Processed by Tanya Elder
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • November 28, 2021: Removed html heading in Historical Note by TElder.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States