How the new Oscars antisemitism commercial ‘Neighbours’ was made in Canada

Rabbi Michael Dolgin
Toronto Rabbi Michael Dolgin on the set of a new Oscars commercial about combating antisemitism, that was filmed at the Kiever Shul on Jan. 17, 2024. (Michael Dolgin photo)

As the rabbinic leader at Temple Sinai Congregation in Toronto, Rabbi Michael Dolgin has gotten used to speaking to a crowd. The Canadian rabbi will appear before a global audience as part of a series of commercials about antisemitism that debuted at Super Bowl LVIII—although Dolgin’s is set to air during this year’s Oscars telecast on Sunday March 10.

Rabbi Dolgin plays a rabbi in the “Neighbours” commercial, which was filmed completely in Toronto in January for the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism. The organization was set up in 2019 by Robert Kraft, the American Jewish philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots.

The ripped-from-the-headlines story shows how an American teenager’s bar mitzvah service was interrupted by a bomb threat in Massachusetts just days after Hamas’s attack on Israel last October. The stranded Jewish worshippers had to evacuate the building, but found themselves quickly welcomed in by an Evangelical church across the road.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, Rabbi Dolgin joins to describe why the role was actually created with him in mind—and what he hopes the ad will do when it airs. [Ed. note: Our interview was done when the cast was under the impression their ad would go during the Super Bowl. However, the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism aired an ad featuring Dr. Clarence B. Jones, who was a speechwriter for the late Dr. Martin Luther King.]

What we talked about

Credits

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.