Kol Nidre

USA, 1939, 88 minutes, B&W
Yiddish with New English subtitles
Directed by Joseph Seiden

with New English Subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

Blu-Ray or DVD - Educational Use
Buy Now

Blu-Ray or DVD - Home Use
Buy Now

Arrange a Screening

Contact us at jewishfilm(at)brandeis(dot)edu
or call 781-736-8600 to book now

Public Exhibition Formats: DCP, Digibeta, BluRay, DVD

"The most bizarre film you will see all year."
- Jewish Week




Featured Screenings

Southampton Jewish Film Festival 2015
Toronto Jewish Film Society 2015
Upcoming November - Doc Films, University of Chicago 2014
Jewish International Film Festival (Melbourne & Sydney, Australia) 2014
Museum of Jewish Heritage (NYC) 2014
Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival BAFICI 2014
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2014
Ohio Premiere - Cleveland's B'nai Jeshurun Slichot Event 2013
JCC Rockland International Jewish Film Festival 2013
New England Premiere - Jewishfilm.2013 The National Center for Jewish Film's 16th Annual Film Festival
Jerusalem Cinematheque Music & Film Festival 2013
North American Premiere - New York Jewish Film Festival 2013
European Premiere - Stockholm Jewish Film Festival 2012
World Premiere - Jerusalem International Jewish Film Festival 2012


A bissel of this, a bissel of that, Kol Nidre has a little bit of everything, combining family melodrama and romance with popular songs, cantorial music and comic bits in an inventive pastiche of themes and styles. The film stars Lili Liliana & Leon Liebgold, the husband and wife Polish actors from The Dybbuk, comedienne Yetta Zwerling, Motl the Operator star Chaim Tauber, and entertainer Cantor Leibele Waldman, with music by Sholem Secunda. Long lost, Kol Nidre has been restored with new English subtitles, using the sole surviving 35mm nitrate print.

Director & Cast

Kol Nidre marks the on-screen reunion of Leon Liebgold and Lili Liliana, the husband and wife Warsaw actors famous for their roles as the young lovers in 1937's The Dybbuk. Also featured are the comedienne Yetta Zwerling, Motl the Operator star Chaim Tauber, and popular entertainer and cantor Leibele Waldman.

Kol Nidre director, Yiddish cinema pioneer Joseph Seiden, produced 15 Yiddish feature films and many short films between 1931 and 1950, including five films previously restored by NCJF: Love and Sacrifice; The Living Orphan; Motl the Operator; and I Want to Be A Boarder.

Photo credit: On the set of Kol Nidre. From director Joseph Seiden's personal papers in the archive of The National Center for Jewish Film


Like many shund (low budget, over the top) Yiddish dramas, Kol Nidre is an inventive pastiche of themes and styles, combining family drama and romance with songs and cantorial music.

The film opened at the Clinton Theater on New York's Lower East Side on September 7, 1939, two weeks before Yom Kippur (when the prayer Kol Nidre is sung) and one week after the Nazi invasion of Poland.

NCJF 2012 Film Restoration

Long lost, Kol Nidre has been restored by The National Center for Jewish Film with 490 new English subtitles, using the sole surviving 35mm nitrate print acquired from the family of director Joseph Seiden.

Restoration was completed with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and a gift from Linda Lipsett & Jules Bernstein, with additional support from the Wellfleet Foundation, Brandeis University, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and The National Center for Jewish Film's Reel Funders.


Joseph Sheongold (Moishe Dorfman)
Bertha Hart (Sarah, his wife)
Lili Liliana (Jenny, their daughter)
Menasha Oppenheim (Jack Grossman)
Leon Liebgold (Rabbi Joseph Goldstein)
David Lederman (Shmelke Shmelkevitz)
Yetta Zwerling (Chasie, his wife)
Leibele Waldman (Himself)
Chaim Tauber (Himself)
Zish Kac
Joel Feig Choir


Director Joseph Seiden
Story Ben Gitlitz
Photography Don Malkames
Music Sholem Secunda
Producer Cinema Service Corp (Joseph Seiden)

2012 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Lisa Rivo
Technical Director Rich Pontius
Academic Consultant Sylvia Fuks Fried
Translators Lillian Leavitt, Solon Beinfeld, Cantor Murray Simon
Special Thanks Jim Hoberman


Official Leibele Waldman site


View and Download Postcard (PDF)

Purchase the Film

 $36.00 + shipping
Home Use Policy (pdf)
$46.00 + shipping
Home Use Policy (pdf)

Educational Use Pricing Explain

$90.00 - DVD Classroom/Library Use + shipping
$125.00 - Blu-ray Classroom/Library Use + shipping

Educational purchase DOES NOT include public performance rights. Library/Classroom Use Policy (pdf)

Also with Leibele Waldman

A Cantor on Trial

Great Cantors 2-Disc Set

The Feast of Passover

Also directed by Joseph Seiden

God, Man and Devil

Great Cantors 2-Disc Set (Performances from The Voice of Israel)

I Want to Be a Boarder

The Living Orphan

Motl the Operator


Back to Top







Join our mailing list!