Free film documents the Israel Philharmonic’s dramatic beginning

Orchestra of Exiles, documentary
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7 pm • Sandler Family Campus, Free and open to the community

In anticipation of the Virginia Arts Festival performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on April 2 in Virginia Beach, the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater has scheduled a screening of Orchestra of Exiles with the Holocaust Commission of the UJFT and the Simon Family JCC as partners.

The community is invited to watch the 2012 film that reveals the fascinating story of the Philharmonic’s beginning. Orchestra of Exiles chronicles the story of celebrated Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s efforts to save the lives of Jewish musicians and European music from extermination by the Nazis during World War II.

Through an acute awareness of what was happening to his fellow Jews, a fierce determination, and by enlisting the help of famous collaborators (including Arturo Toscanini and Albert Einstein), Huberman arranged the emigration to Palestine of nearly 100 Jewish musicians. Huberman, with these musicians, went on to form a symphony that would become the worldclass Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Michele Goldberg, cultural arts director of the Simon Family JCC—the CRC’s partner in this film presentation—says the community stands to gain a greater appreciation of the Israel Philharmonic, and its continued reputation of excellence, after seeing this film.

Orchestra of Exiles provides us with a chance to understand how this world-class symphony was founded, and to marvel at the incredible legacy we get to experience when we hear the Philharmonic perform in person on April 2,” Goldberg says. The documentary includes archival footage, original recordings, reenactments, and commentary by some of this era’s most famous musicians and conductors, including Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell and others.

Following the screening of Orchestra of Exiles on Feb. 25, the audience will be further enriched through a discussion with the film’s director Josh Aronson, who will attend the screening. Aronson is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and a concert pianist himself.

The presentation of this film marks the first of the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel series. Additional events include the CRC’s Israel Today forum featuring Robert Satloff on May 1, and the popular Israel Festival on May 18.

For more information about the film and to RSVP, visit, or call 965-6107.

by Laine Mednick Rutherford