Faith and interfaith issues

Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival will be a holiday highlight.

THE ACCOUNTANT OF AUSCHWITZ (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 20th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival will run this year at the Jerusalem Cinematheque December 1 to 6 and will present varied and entertaining films on every aspect of Jewish life, from Israel and around the world during Hanukkah.
Over 50 films from more than a dozen countries will be shown, including dramas, documentaries, comedies, classics and short films.
There will also be a number of distinguished guests and many special events.
This year, there will be a new competition, sponsored by SIGNIS, which will award prizes to films on interfaith themes.
It’s been five years since the death of beloved Israeli singer/ songwriter Arik Einstein and the opening-night event will be a celebration of Einstein’s music and life. It will feature a concerto based on his music, performed by graduates of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, as well as a lecture and a screening of two episodes of the television series, A Standard Love Song: Arik Einstein.
Another musical event will be the screening of a new, digitally restored version of Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, which will be accompanied by a performance by the Jerusalem drag queens, Yosale and Moksha.
The 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins will be marked with the screening of a documentary, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, by Judy Kinberg.
The history of Jews around the world is always a central theme of the festival. This year, director Roberta Grossman and executive producer Nancy Spielberg will be present their latest collaboration, Who Will Write Our History, a fascinating documentary about Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto who risked their lives to create the Oneg Shabbat archives, where they hid hundreds of thousands of eyewitness accounts, film and photos of life under the Nazis. Grossman and Spielberg will take part in a discussion that will be moderated by Dr. Noah Benninga. The two filmmakers previously made the story of the American pilots who helped create the Israeli air force, Above and Beyond.
The City Without Jews, by Hans Karl Breslauer, a 1924 Austrian film that presaged the fate of European Jewry, will be shown, with live musical accompaniment by Rodika Foigelman and will be preceded by a lecture by Professor Frank Stern of Vienna University.
Among the other films that will be screened in the presence of their creators or which will be introduced by notable lecturers will be 93Queen, a documentary about a group of hassidic women in Brooklyn who create the first all-female volunteer ambulance corps in New York City, with director Paula Eiselt and protagonist Judge Rachel Freier, which will be introduced by director Rama Burshtein and Ma’aleh Film School director Neta Ariel at different screenings; Back to Berlin, about modern-day Jewish bikers who take an epic journey to deliver the Maccabi torch to Hitler’s 1936 Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony of the European Maccabiah Games, with director Catherine Lurie and the protagonists; Samaritan, a rare glimpse at the 780-member Samaritan community, with director Julien Menanteau and the protagonist; Fig Tree, a moving drama about a Jewish teenage girl in war-torn Ethiopia, with director Alam-Warque Davidian, which will be part of an annual celebration of the Ethiopian community and will launch the project “Equal” to promote movies dealing with the Ethiopian community; The Accountant of Auschwitz, the story of 94-year-old former SS officer Oskar Gröning, who was tried for complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews in Auschwitz, with director Matthew Shoychet; Chasing Portraits, about Polish artist Moshe Rynecki, with director Elizabeth Rynecki; and They Called Me Ovadia, a portrait of Abed Rajoub, one of the most senior Palestinian agents to collaborate with Israel, with Rajoub and filmmakers Tal Michael and David Ofek.
Dovlatov, directed by Aleksey German, is a wonderful biopic about a Soviet-era Jewish writer.
Several movies delve into culinary cinema, among them Alexa Karolinski’s Oma & Bella, about two lifelong friends who share memories and food, which will be introduced by chef and scholar of Jewish food traditions Shmil Holland.
For more information, visit the Jerusalem Cinematheque website at en/26021