Virginia Festival of Jewish Film

by | Jan 18, 2020 | What’s Happening

One of the longest running Jewish film festivals in the nation, the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film is presented by Patricia and Avraham Ashkenazi and Alma and Howard Laderberg.

Strange Fruit

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 20, 6 pm
Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center Virginia Wesleyan University
FREE and open to the community with RSVP required. Limited seating.

A controversial song about the shameful lynching of blacks in the United States, Strange Fruit was written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher from the Bronx, and made famous by Billie Holiday. Director Joel Katz’s documentary traces the song’s history and explores jazz genealogy and the history of lynching.

In partnership with United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council, Hands United Building Bridges (HUBB), and Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan University

Love in Suspenders

Thursday, February 20, 7:15 pm
Cinema Café Kemps River, $10

When Tami, the absent-minded widow, runs into a charming widower with her car, sparks fly and adult kids react. A charming comedy about an unexpected romantic ‘awakening’ after the age of 63.

Picture of His Life

The big Saturday night celebration of Jewish film and champagne reception
In memory of Patricia Ashkenazi
Saturday, February 22, 8 pm, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets $35, under 21 FREE

After barely escaping the first time, revered and daring underwater photographer Amos Nachoum gives the elusive and fascinating polar bear one last shot. Join him on his journey to the end of the world.

As part of the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, and community partners’ 9th annual Israel Today series.

Restoring Tomorrow

Sunday, February 23, 2 pm, Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, Virginia Wesleyan University, $10
Limited seating, pre-purchase strongly suggested.

Restoring Tomorrow tells the tale of a national treasure, the opulent Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, built in 1929 by the legendary movie moguls and showbiz congregants of the time. By the 21st century, it had fallen into such disrepair that the structure was on the verge of collapse.

Amid a Jewish exodus from East LA, the Rabbi undertakes an epic $150 million renovation, seeking not only to restore the building’s physical majesty but to create a center for Jewish life and social services for an ethnically diverse neighborhood. The fundraising campaign and renovation are documented by LA-based filmmaker Aaron Wolf, who, f finds himself restored as he reconnects to his synagogue and his community.

As part of Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund’s Tidewater Together series.

The Frisco Kid

Mal Vincent’s pick
Monday, February 24, 7:15 pm, Naro Expanded Cinema, $10

A big-hearted folktale peppered with ethnic humor and religious sensitivity. An unusual pairing with Gene Wilder as a clueless Torah-taxi-ing Polish Rabbi who gets conned, and Harrison Ford as the gun-slinging outlaw who takes pity on the poor schliemel.

Those Who Remained

Wednesday, February 26, 7:15 pm, Beach Cinema Ale House, $10

Based on the 2004 novel by Zsuzsa F. Varkonyi, Those Who Remained explores the relationship of two survivors trying to live their lives in Hungary after the Holocaust. Dr. Aládar “Aldó” Körner meets 16-year old Klára during a medical exam, but she immediately latches onto him. The rest of the film navigates their delicate bond and explores how people navigate a dark world and choppy waters through the stability and equilibrium of others.

In partnership with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Holocaust Commission.

Ticket Pricing

Film Festival Ticket Pricing: Full Festival Pass $70
The BIG Saturday Night Film & Celebration: $35 and Under 21: FREE
Individual Film Tickets for All Other Films: $10

Special group pricing available, contact Patty Shelanski at

Kids Night Out Babysitting at the Simon Family JCC open for JCC members for the BIG Saturday Night Celebration of Jewish Film and Champagne Reception. (Registration required at the JCC Front Desk, limited availability.)

For tickets or more information: 757-321-2338 or