New friends and old films— a great “Movie Combo”

by | May 3, 2013 | Uncategorized

Janice Aleck with her niece, Debra Aleck.

Janice Aleck with her niece, Debra Aleck.

Three-dozen women met at Cinema Café in Virginia Beach to make new friends and watch a modernday “classic” on Sunday, April 21. Directed by Barry Levinson, “Avalon” is a coming-of-age story for countless Eastern European Jewish immigrants, who came to the United States in the early part of the 20th century.

Set in the early 1950s, Sam Krichinsky and his four brothers have all been in the United States for more than three decades. Their American-born adult children are now married with young children of their own. Television has just debuted and the world is changing, especially for those with traditional European mores and ideas. As the adult children become successful, they move out to the suburbs, and multi-generational family bonds begin to fray. But it’s the 1950s—time of innocence and optimism in the United States.

Family dynamics are family dynamics, no matter the ethnic group, the location, or the era; and they play out in ways that are sad, funny, frustrating, and even ridiculous. Audience members could easily see their own parents and grandparents, and children in the characters of the film.

The struggle to fit-in… to be American in every way… is illustrated as the adult children change their surnames from Krichinsky to Kirk and Kaye; as the families exchange “holiday gifts” in December; and by the lack of Jewish simchas and celebrations throughout the film. But reality presents itself when a phone call from the American Red Cross informs the family that a relative they’d never known had miraculously survived the Holocaust and was currently living in a Displaced Persons camp in Europe.

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Women’s Cabinet Outreach committee brought together the women in the Tidewater Jewish community (including several sets of mothers and daughters, and even a few granddaughters) for a light, fun, and social event. A short video prior to the main feature emphasized women giving charitably in their own names.

Cabinet member Janet Mercadante welcomed the women and encouraged them to meet and greet one another, explaining that: “It is through these kinds of community- building events that we strengthen relationships and ultimately strengthen the Jewish community we all love.”