Virginia Festival of Jewish Film reaches milestone 30th year

by | Jan 19, 2023 | What’s Happening

The Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Alma and Howard Laderberg, is marking its 30th Anniversary in February. One of the longest-running Jewish film festivals in the nation, the festival entertains, educates, and engages the Tidewater community by presenting world-class film premieres, repertory cinema, and associated programs that are inspired by Jewish or Israeli history, heritage, and values.

The milestone 30th year of the festival includes five exciting films, with topics including showcasing modern Israeli friendships, finding the joy in getting older, a story of hiding during the Holocaust, the Jewish history of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and family relationships.

Registration for all five films and the festival season pass is available now at For more information, contact Hunter Thomas, director of Arts + Ideas, at


Thursday, February 23, 7:30 pm

Cinema Café Kemps River, Virginia Beach

Meir and Tova are a retired couple living in an upscale Tel Aviv apartment complex. The couple meets Itzik, their confident, flashy bachelor neighbor in the penthouse upstairs. When Meir and Tova visit Itzik for karaoke night, things begin to change. His influence is invigorating: Almost immediately, the couple finds themselves more attentive to their looks, more adventurous, and eager for their neighbor’s flattering attentions.

The big Saturday Night Celebration
of Jewish film


Saturday, February 25, 7:30 pm

Includes a conversation with a star of the film, followed by a champagne and dessert reception with klezmer music
by Bagels & Fraylox

Zeiders American Dream Theater,
Virginia Beach

A heart-warming movie based on a true story, iMordecai stars Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning actor Judd Hirsch as Mordecai Samels and Academy Award-nominated actress Carol Kane as his wife, Fela, both Polish Holocaust survivors now living in Miami.

When Mordecai’s ancient flip phone breaks, he starts to take lessons from Nina, a young employee of Ultratech. She tutors Mordecai on his new iPhone, opening him up to all kinds of novel experiences and adventures, which makes him feel like a kid again. An uplifting comedy and a love letter to the city of Miami, iMordecai urges us all to live the one life we have to the fullest.

The Levys of Monticello

Sunday, February 26, 2:30 pm

Norfolk Academy, Norfolk

When President Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, he left behind a mountain of personal debt, forcing his heirs to auction off most of his possessions and sell off his iconic home, Monticello. In 1834, Monticello was purchased by Captain Uriah P. Levy, the first Jewish commodore to serve in the U.S. Navy. A deep admirer of Jefferson’s scholarship and dedication to religious liberty, Levy and his family would go on to own Monticello for nearly a century—far longer than Jefferson and his descendants.

This remarkable documentary uncovers the incredible legacy of the Levy Family while confronting the racism and antisemitism that remain part of the narrative surrounding the national landmark.

Next Stop, Greenwich Village

Monday, February 27, 7:15 pm

Naro Expanded Cinema, Norfolk

Fresh out of college, Larry Lapinsky leaves Brooklyn and moves to Greenwich Village. Larry comes from a traditional Jewish home, and though his mother, Faye, wants him to get a steady job, he tries to make it as an actor. He quickly takes his place among some young creative types, including girlfriend Sarah and writer Robert. Soon Larry is on the verge of a career breakthrough, but his mother finds it hard to let go.

Farewell, Mr. Haffmann

Adieu, Monsieur Haffmann

Wednesday, March 1, 7:30 pm

Beach Cinema Alehouse, Virginia Beach

In Nazi-Occupied Paris in 1941, all members of the Jewish community are instructed to come forward and identify themselves to authorities. Dedicated jeweler Joseph Haffmann, fearing the worst, arranges for his family to flee the city and offers his employee François Mercier the chance to take over his store until the conflict subsides. But his own attempts to escape are thwarted, and Haffmann is forced to seek his assistant’s protection. It’s a risky proposition for both men, and one that Mercier’s wife Blanche is skeptical of. Tensions rise as the three live in fear of being discovered by the Nazi occupiers. This gripping, morally complex thriller about greed, survival, and courage is replete with Faustian bargains and surprisingly dramatic plot turns.


Hunter Thomas