Virginia Festival of Jewish Film

by | Jan 31, 2020 | Other News

The 27th Annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film is one of the longest-running Jewish film festivals in the nation. A dedicated screening committee, led by Mark Robbins and William Laderberg, selected films meant to engage diverse Tidewater audiences—Jewish and non-Jewish alike—with a variety of topics and film genres.

Love in Suspenders

Thursday, February 20, 7:15 pm
Cinema Café Kemps River
1220 Fordham Drive, Virginia Beach

Tickets: $10
Limited seating, pre-purchase strongly suggested.

Director Jorge Weller | 102 min
Israel | 2019
Hebrew with English Subtitles | Not Rated

An encounter between two people with such different personalities can only lead to disaster…but love has its own rules.

When absent-minded 64-year-old widow Tami accidentally hits 70-year-old widower Beno with her car, the last thing on her mind is love and romance. Trying to ensure Beno will not sue her, she invites him over to her apartment.

Against her wishes, and although she finds it hard to move on following her husband’s death, Tami starts falling for Beno, who is head over heels in love with her. But will their budding relationship survive the scrutiny of their children?

A charming romantic comedy for the young and young at heart.

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
201 Market Street, Virginia Beach

Tickets $35, under 21 FREE with RSVP (required)
Followed by a conversation with director Dani Menkin and award-winning photographer Amos Nachoum

Directors Dani Menkin and Yonatan Mir | 72 min
Israel, USA, Canada | 2019
English, Hebrew, Inuktitut | Not Rated

Revered as one of the greatest underwater photographers of all time, Amos Nachoum has always been fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth. He has developed a unique approach that puts him face to face with his subjects, without any protection.

Nachoum swam with crocodiles and killer whales, with anacondas and with great white sharks, but one major predator always eluded him, the polar bear. After four decades in the wilderness, Amos is determined to give it one last shot.

As the journey unfolds, Nachoum contemplates the series of unspoken events that drove him to the end of the world. It has been a long and painful journey, after serving in an Elite Commando unit and witnessing the horrors of war, but where others find fear, Nachoum finds redemption.

Amos Nachoum’s work will be on exhibit in the Leon Family Gallery at the Simon Family JCC February 14 through March.

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
5817 Wesleyan Drive, Virginia Beach

Tickets: $10
Limited seating, pre-purchase strongly suggested.
Followed by a conversation with local screenwriter Marc Moss and director Aaron Wolf

Director Aaron Wolf | 82 mins
USA | 2017
English | Not Rated

Religious institutions are losing young members and closing their doors at an alarming rate. Restoring Tomorrow, a universal story of hope, shows there is another way.

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.

With its towering 10-story-high dome, it ranks with the Chinese theater and Griffith Planetarium as one of the great L.A. landmarks, but 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 L.A., 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 seemingly impossible fundraising campaign and painstaking renovation are documented by L.A.-based filmmaker Aaron Wolf, who, like so many of his generation, had become disaffected from his congregation. In chronicling the Temple’s restoration, Wolf finds himself restored as he reconnects to his synagogue and his community.

Restoring Tomorrow ultimately demonstrates how, when any community puts its mind to it, people can come together, no matter what culture or religion.

As part of Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund of Congregation Beth El’s Foundations’s annual Tidewater Together series.

The Frisco Kid

Mal Vincent’s pick
Monday, February 24, 7:15 pm
Naro Expanded Cinema
1507 Colley Avenue, Norfolk

Tickets $10

Director Robert Aldrich | 122 min
USA | 1979
English | PG

In one of Hollywood’s most unusual pairings, Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford co-star as a Polish rabbi and a gun slinging outlaw traveling the Wild West, in The Frisco Kid, an offbeat buddy adventure and Western comedy.

Young, inexperienced Rabbi Belinski (Wilder) is dispatched in the mid-1800s to transport a Torah to a new San Francisco synagogue and become its first rabbi. Alone on the frontier, the clueless immigrant is conned, robbed, and threatened, until a bank robber with a heart of gold (Ford, in a role meant for John Wayne) takes pity on the poor schlemiel.

Initially dismissed by critics, this bighearted folktale is now considered an essential Jewish movie for its delicate blend of ethnic humor, religious sensitivity, and winning performances. Sporting a wild beard, weird accent, and twinkle in his eyes, Wilder evokes his own unique brand of lovable naiveté and fish-out-of-water slapstick.

Those Who Remained

Wednesday, February 26, 7:15 pm
Beach Cinema Ale House
941 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach

Tickets: $10
Limited seating, pre-purchase strongly suggested.

Director Barnabás Tóth | 83 mins
UK | 2016
Hungarian with English subtitles | Not Rated

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.

Those Who Remained has garnered international praise, having been nominated and entered into the Oscars’ International Feature Film Category.

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: 757-965-6137 or