Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

‘Bad Grandpa’ Comes to Synagogue

Wanna see ‘Bad Grandpa’ or ‘Thor’ — and daven at the same time?

You might just think it’s possible if you visit the New York Times online listing of movie showtimes. You will find a new movie theater on East 65th Street, listed between Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and City Cinemas Beekman Theater. Today, the theater is showing “Thor: The Dark World 3D,” “Last Vegas,” and even “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”

There is just one problem: the theater is a synagogue — and quite a famous one at that.

“They came to the door wanting to know if the 3:05 showing was on schedule,” said Mark Heutlinger, the administrator of Congregation Emanu-El, the shul named in the listing. “And the answer was, excuse me, you can’t believe everything you read in the New York Times.”

Upon hearing that the synagogue was supposedly showing “Bad Grandpa,” Heutlinger was incredulous. “Really, ‘Bad Grandpa?’ That’s one of our favorite Shabbos films,” he joked.

Emanu-El was New York City’s first Reform congregation and owns one of the largest synagogue buildings in the world. While it occasionally holds private screenings of Jewish-themed movies, the synagogue has no plans to show “Thor: The Dark World.”

“[He’s] not one of our gods, so to speak,” Heutlinger said.

In a case of a synagogue mistaken for a cineplex, Congregation Emanu-El now appears as a movie theater in a variety of showtimes listings, including movietickets.com, showtimes.com, and even the New York Times “Movies” website.

But Emanu-El is not showing movies. “It’s not a theater, it’s a synagogue,” said Prince Davis, an administrative assistant in the synagogue office, who was mystified as to how the glitch occurred. “It’s a mistake.”

Calls about movie times began rolling into the synagogue office over the weekend. Since then, a few moviegoers have actually come to the synagogue hoping to see a movie.

Heutlinger and Davis are frustrated by the volume of calls about movie times. “We even have temple members calling and saying, ‘Are you showing a movie or something,’” Davis said. “Do not call Temple Emanuel to see ‘Dances with Wolves’ part two.”

The administrators do not know how to fix the problem, though they are trying to contact the offending websites. Heutlinger assumes the mistake was caused by “lack of attention to detail” by one of the website operators. “

“It also could be somebody’s sense of humor,” he said. “Who knows?”

Contact Hody Nemes on Twitter @hodifly

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.