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Master Teacher Institute in Holocaust Education

Littman Holocaust Resource Center

Fall 2017 / Spring 2018

America and the Holocaust

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Ghetto of Florence

Academic Building, B1170, 15 Seminary Place

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Bizarre Tales of Yiddishland:

What the Yiddish Press Reveals about the Jews

Trayes Hall, Douglass Campus Center
100 George Street, New Brunswick

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Soundscapes of Modernity:

Jews and Music in Polish Cities

Kirkpatrick Chapel
81 Somerset Street, New Brunswick


Presented by: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life with support from the Karma Foundation

The following critically acclaimed, international dramatic and documentary films were featured at the 2016 Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival:


  New Jersey Premiere
  (Israel, 2016, 97 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles /Director: Asaph Polonsky

When shiva for their son ends and his wife tries to return to her routine, a grieving father sets out on a journey of discovery. He gets high with his neighbor’s son while searching for the meaning of life in this humorous film about love and loss.


  New Jersey Premiere
  (USA, 2016, 76 minutes)
  English and German with English subtitles /Director: Janina Quint

This documentary examines the history of Germany’s postwar Jewish population and the fraught and fragile relationships between Jews and non-Jews. Middle-aged Germans who grew up largely ignorant of the Hitler era discuss key moments that awakened them to the nightmare of Germany’s past and of the culpability of family members. Told entirely through interviews at a dinner party attended by Germans and Jews, the film negotiates sensitive questions of memory, guilt, identity and redemption.


  (Israel and USA, 2015, 98 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Natalie Portman

Based on Amos Oz’s international best-seller, and starring Natalie Portman, in her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness recounts the time Oz spent with his mother, Fania (Natalie Portman), in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. Dealing with a married life of unfulfilled promises and integration in a foreign land, Fania battles her inner demons and longs for a better world for her son.

women in sink 1  WOMEN IN SINK

  (Israel, 2015, 36 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Iris Zaki

In a hair salon owned by a Christian-Arab in Haifa, the director installs a camera over the washbasin where she chats with the diverse clients she is shampooing. The film captures unexpected frankness of Arab and Jewish women who share their differences and a community of views on politics, history and love.

partner with the enemy  PARTNER WITH THE ENEMY

  (Israel, 2014, 60 minutes)
  Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Duki Dror and Chen Shelach

In the midst of the ever-fraught Israeli-Palestinian political landscape, two women, one Israeli and one Palestinian, attempt the seemingly impossible: to build a business together. Fighting against societal and family pressure, anti-normalization currents and a chauvinistic, male-dominated industry, the two combine forces to create a logistics company which helps Palestinian businessmen navigate the everyday life in the West Bank.


  (France, 2014, 106 minutes)
  French with English subtitles
  Director: Jean-Jacques Zilbermann

Fifteen years after surviving Auschwitz, Helene, Lili and Rose are reunited on holiday in the North of France. Savoring ice cream cones, trying on bikinis, swimming in the sea, the women resume their friendship, with occasional disagreements about what they remember. Despite high spirits, a romantic adventure for Hélène and Rose’s insistence that they not talk about the camps, remnants of the war seep into everyday life. Based on the true story of the director’s mother, these women — their marriages, affairs and challenges to define themselves — form the heart of À La Vie.


  (Israel and Canada, 2016, 118 minutes)
  French and Hebrew with English Subtitles / Director: Shemi Zarhin

This quirky and wry dramedy follows three siblings—Dorona and brothers Netanel and Shai—who, in the wake of their mother’s death, learn that the man who raised them is not their biological father. The revelation sends them on a road trip from Israel across France to discover the truth about their real father. Writer-director Shemi Zarhin explores an unraveling family secret and the bittersweet journey of self-discovery that follows.

cloudysunday  CLOUDY SUNDAY

  New Jersey Premiere
  (Greece, 2015, 116 minutes)
  Greek with Ladino and English subtitles
  Director: Manoussos Manoussakis  

Set in the Greek city of Thessaloniki during the German occupation in 1942, the film tells the story of a forbidden love between Estrea, a young Jewish girl, and Giorgos, brother-in-law of the great Greek composer and famed bouzouki player Vassilis Tsitsanis. Central to the film is traditional and newly composed Greek music as well as its spectacular cinematography. The film is based on the book Ouzeri Tsitsanis by George Skarbadonis.


  (Israel, 2015, 98 minutes)
  English, Hebrew, Arabic, and French with English subtitles
  Director: Rani Saar

On the eighth of May 1972, four hijackers from the Palestinian organization “Black September” took control of Belgian Sabena Flight 571 from Brussels to Tel Aviv. The film presents a cinematic reenactment of the events, weaved together with genuine archival material and exclusive interviews with three revered Israeli political leaders who were in charge of the rescue effort at the time, as well as the only surviving hijacker.


  (Germany, 2015, 105 minutes)
  German, English, Yiddish with English subtitles
  Director: Lars Kraume

In 1957, German Attorney General Fritz Bauer receives crucial evidence on the whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann. The lieutenant colonel, responsible for the mass deportation of the Jews, is allegedly hiding in Buenos Aires. Facing fierce German determination to repress its past, Bauer has had no success trying crimes from the Third Reich in court.  His distrust in the German justice system, leads him to contact the Israeli secret service Mossad, and, by doing so, he commits treason.


  (USA, 2016, 97 minutes)
  Director: Roger M. Sherman

James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov, takes us on a journey to Israel through food. He enters peoples’ lives and their kitchens as they discuss their roots, inspirations, what their grandmothers cooked, and how they are preserving traditions and updating recipes with global influences. The beautiful cinematography and rich human stories draw a complex portrait of Israel and the many cultures who call it home.

Eva Hesse  EVA HESSE

  (USA and Germany, 2016, 108 minutes)
  Director: Marcie Begleiter

The film portrays the extraordinary brief life of artist Eva Hesse: from escaping Germany at age two on the Kindertransport, to her groundbreaking sculptures and rise in the New York art scene in the 1960s, to her death at a young age. Today she is recognized as one of the most important artists of the second half of the 20th century. Her work is held by major museums including the Whitney, MoMA, the Hirschhorn, and the Pompidou in Paris.

Fire Birds  FIRE BIRDS

  (Israel, 2015, 105 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Amir I Wolf

Three widows and a handsome stranger cross paths in this Israeli murder mystery. An eighty-year-old man's body is found with three stab wounds to the chest and a number tattooed along his forearm. Amnon, a police detective and second generation Holocaust survivor, is reluctantly assigned to the case. As the plot weaves between the past and present, their stories unfold.


  New Jersey Premiere
  (Israel and U.K., 2016, 84 minutes)
  English and Hebrew with English subtitles
  Directors: Barak Heymann and Tomer Heymann

Saar is an HIV positive gay man living in London, where he found refuge from the religious kibbutz where he grew up in Israel. Ever since he was diagnosed with HIV, Saar has craved his family’s love, while they struggle with fears and prejudices.


  (USA, 2016, 91 minutes)
  Director: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

Arguably the most influential creator, writer, and producer in the history of television, Norman Lear brought primetime into step with the times. Using comedy and indelible characters, his legendary 1970s shows such as All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons boldly cracked open dialogue and shifted the national consciousness, injecting enlightened humanism into sociopolitical debates on race, class, creed, and feminism. This film is the definitive chronicle of Mr. Lear’s life, work, and achievements.


  (USA and United Kingdom, 2016, 110 minutes)
  English, Hebrew and German with English subtitles
  Director: Mick Jackson


This drama depicts Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt’s historic legal trial against Holocaust denial. Starring Rachel Weisz, the film is an absorbing account of a woman’s fight for the truth. Based on Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.


  (Israel, 2016, 78 minutes)
  English and Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Dani Menkin

This documentary recounts the story of the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team’s victory in the European cup which put Israel firmly on the map. Featuring interviews with the Jewish American athletes who made history, On the Map combines the action of a high-stakes game with an incendiary political situation at the height of the Cold War to deliver a film that honors Israeli heroes, captivates basketball fans, and captures the spirit of a triumphant nation.

womensbalcony 01  THE WOMEN'S BALCONY

  (Israel, 2016, 96 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Emil Ben Shimon

An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gendered rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in this rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power. The day of Osher's bar mitzvah begins auspiciously, with happy guests in their Sabbath best making their way through Jerusalem's streets. They congregate in the synagogue, and the men look up adoringly at the women's balcony where their wives, daughters, sisters, cousins, and grandmothers are gathered. Then disaster strikes: the floor under the balcony gives way, leaving several people injured. Most everyone regards the collapse as the tragic result of a structural flaw. No one stops to wonder if it might have been a message from God. Until Rabbi David comes along.

Presented by: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life with support from the Karma Foundation

The following critically acclaimed, international dramatic and documentary films were featured at the 2015 Rutgers New Jersey Jewish Film Festival:

apples from the desert 150px   APPLES FROM THE DESERT

  (Israel, 2014, 94 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Directors: Arik Lubetzky and Matti Harari

  In a film adaptation of the award-winning Israeli play, rebellious teenager Rebecca Abravanel breaks with the strict religious traditions of her ultra-Orthodox, Sephardic Jewish parents and journeys into the   secular world. When her father tries to force her into an arranged marriage with an older widower, she runs away from home, leaving Jerusalem to join her new friend Dooby on his secular kibbutz. Her departure sets in motion a series of events that forces the entire family to confront their beliefs – and one another.

a borrowed identity 150px   A BORROWED IDENTITY

  (Israel, 2014, 104 minutes)
  Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
  Director: Eran Riklis

  Eyad, a Palestinian-Israeli teenager who wins a scholarship to an elite Jerusalem boarding school, is an outsider struggling to fit in with Jewish-Israeli culture in the late 1980s. Through the school’s community  service initiative, he befriends Jonathan, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, and is embraced by Jonathan’s mother as a member of the family. As war looms, Eyad discovers love and disappointment, and makes a life-changing decision that alters the course of his future. Sayed Kashua based the script on his debut novel.

bulgarian rhapsody 150px   BULGARIAN RHAPSODY

  (Bulgaria/Israel, 2014, 108 minutes)
  Bulgarian, German, Ladino with English subtitles
  Director: Ivan Nitchev

  Set in Bulgaria during the summer of 1943, this touching story of adolescence and first love explores Bulgaria’s complicity in the Holocaust. When teenagers Moni and Giogio – one Jewish, one the son of the commissar for Jewish affair’s driver – both fall in love with Shelly, the new girl in school, they test the limits of friendship while conflict rages around them. Bulgarian Rhapsody, third in a film series about Bulgarian Jewry, was the country’s submission to the recent Academy Awards.

dough 150px  DOUGH

  (Hungary/United Kingdom, 2015, 94 minutes)
  Director: John Goldschmidt

  Faced with a dwindling clientele and the pressures of encroaching big box stores, Jewish baker Nat Dayan enlists the aid of Ayyash, a young Muslim apprentice, at his kosher bake shop in London’s East End.  When Ayyash’s stash of marijuana accidentally falls into the dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship develops between the two men. Dough is a warmhearted and gently  humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places.

east jerusalem west jerusalem 150px   EAST JERUSALEM WEST JERUSALEM

  (Israel, 2014, 80 minutes)
  English, and Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
  Directors: Erez Miller and Henrique Cymerman

  Legendary Israeli singer/guitarist David Broza journeys to East Jerusalem to record his latest album with Israeli, Palestinian, and American musicians. Broza hopes that bridging cultures through music can be one small step toward peaceful coexistence. The film weaves together soulful music and personal conversations of hope in a time and a place where hope is most needed.

the farewell party 150px   THE FAREWELL PARTY

  (Germany, Israel, 2014, 93 minutes)
  Hebrew with English subtitles
  Directors: Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit

  Nominated for 14 Israeli Academy Awards, this humorous film takes on a serious subject and treats it with a unique blend of compassion and humor. A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home decide to help their terminally ill friend take his death into his own hands. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help raising thorny and emotional questions.

last mentsch 150px  THE LAST MENTSCH

  (France/Germany/Switzerland, 2014, 93 minutes)
  English, and German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Hungarian with English subtitles
  Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati

  Born Menachem Teitelbaum, Marcus escaped Auschwitz, only to reject his Jewish past. He so effectively creates a new identity for himself that the rabbis refuse his appeal for burial in Cologne’s Jewish cemetery when he faces his own mortality. Determined to reestablish his Jewish ancestry, Marcus enlists the help of a chain-smoking young Turkish woman with a troubled history of her own. The unlikely duo takes a road trip to his birthplace on the Hungarian-Romanian border, a journey that changes them both.

phoenix 150px   PHOENIX

  (Germany, 2014, 98 minutes)
  German with English subtitles
  Director: Christian Petzold

  Auschwitz survivor Nelly, barely recovered from surgery to restore her badly injured face, returns to Berlin in 1945. Against the advice of an old friend, she sets out to find her husband, Johnny, who is convinced she is dead. Refusing to believe she is his wife, Johnny decides to tutor Nelly in the role of playing herself, a scheme to fool their friends and collect her inheritance. Nelly agrees, hoping to discover the truth: whether the love of her life adored or betrayed her.

raise the roof 150px  RAISE THE ROOF

  (USA, 2015, 85 minutes)
  English and Polish with English subtitles
  Directors: Yari and Cary Wolinsky

  Fascinated by the magnificent lost wooden synagogues of Poland, Boston-based artists Rick and Laura Brown mastermind an effort to rebuild one of these architectural wonders. They recruit an international team of 300 craftsmen, students, and volunteers who employ antique tools and artisanal techniques to recreate the timber-framed roof and intricate mural designs of the synagogue in the town of Gwozdiec. Against enormous obstacles, they recover not only a lost synagogue, but a lost Jewish world.

rock in the red zone 150px   ROCK IN THE RED ZONE

  (Israel, USA, 2014, 87 minutes)
  English and Hebrew with English subtitles
  Director: Laura Bialis

  For the past eight years, the southern Israeli town of Sderot has endured almost daily attacks by Qassam rockets launched from Gaza. Rock in the Red Zone shares the story of the people, the music, and the harsh realities of life in this besieged town through the voices of Sderot’s musical elite and those of the up and coming musicians who play in the underground rock club that doubles as a bomb shelter.

rosenwald schools 150px   ROSENWALD

  (USA, 2014, 90 minutes)
  Director: Aviva Kempner

  Julius Rosenwald may have been the greatest philanthropist you’ve never heard of. The son of an immigrant peddler, he overcame his humble origins to become the top executive at Sears and Roebuck. Inspired by the Jewish principle of tzedekah (charity) and the writings of Booker T. Washington, Rosenwald went on to leverage his newfound wealth and prestige by partnering with African-American communities to build over 5,000 schools in the South and to establish the Rosenwald Fund, which supported African-American artists and intellectuals.

the train three 150px  THE TRAIN

  (USA, 2015, 8 minutes)
  Director: Asher Grodman

  The film portrays a chance meeting between a young businessman and a Holocaust survivor. The Train is inspired by the true story of Andre Mencz, portrayed by Eli Wallach in one of his final performances.


  (USA, 2014, 75 minutes)
  Director: John Lollos

  Portraits of Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel are interwoven to create an enchanting documentary that highlights what these beloved Jewish icons have in common: wit, wisdom, and talent, shot through with humanity and Yiddishkeit. A pioneer of modern Jewish literature and champion of the Yiddish language, Shalom Aleichem created dozens of memorable characters in his stories. Bikel, whose career included more than 150 film roles and countless stage productions, was a master at bringing the writer’s work to life through charismatic storytelling and rich performances.

to life 150px   TO LIFE

  (Germany, 2014, 86 minutes)
  German with English Subtitles
  Director: Uwe Janson

  Fate has taken its toll on the aging cabaret singer Ruth. Her accidental meeting with the young German man Jonas saves her life. As memories of a tragic love affair and the Yiddish songs of her youth restore Ruth’s strength, she gives Jonas, who harbors a troubling secret, the courage to stop running from his own chance at love – and from his future. Adapted from the original short story If Stones Could Cry by Stephen Glantz.

zionist idea 150px  THE ZIONIST IDEA

  (USA, 2015, 160 minutes)
  English, and Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
  Directors: Oren Rudavsky and Joseph Dorman

  The Zionist Idea is a feature-length exploration of the one of the most influential, controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era. With origins in late 19th century Europe, Zionism was born of both the Jewish confrontation with modernity and the renewed persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Today, amid unceasing religious conflict in the Middle East, how do Americans understand the meaning, history, and future of the movement?

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