More than 1,200 people experienced the diversity of Jewish/ Israeli films offered during Simon Family JCC’s 24th Annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presented by Alma* & Howard Laderberg. Seven films, from compelling documentaries to a poignant comedy, were screened at various locations throughout Tidewater.
On opening night, Leslie Siegel volunteered her talents and transformed the lobby of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts with playful, freestanding posters of basketball players and basketballs dangling in netted drapery overhead. It all set the perfect tone for the documentary, On The Map, with Tal Brody, one of the winning 1977 Maccabi team players who received a standing ovation for his contribution to the world of Israeli sports. This rousing opening of the festival, sponsored by Patricia and Avraham Ashkenazi, with a reception catered by Village Caterers, peaked appetites for more films during the week.
One could hear a pin drop at the screening of Defiant Requiem, as viewers discovered the heroic story of artists and musicians at the concentration camp, Terezin. Later in the week, the audience applauded with delight when the star of the film, Presenting Princess Shaw, Samantha Montgomery, grabbed a microphone and belted out a song.
The plethora of film genres and the talent represented at the Festival continues to expand in step with the community’s interest in sustaining this annual event.
Barry Einhorn, a founding film committee member says, “We wanted to create a cultural Jewish experience that could not be found anywhere else in the area. We did just that. This is our 24th year. The fact that it has lasted 24 years is tribute to the generosity of our many sponsors, plus the diligence of the film committee, some who have served for 24 years, and the continued support of the community.”
*of blessed memory