By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Debby Rice tells me that Congregation Ahavath Sholom has the coming year planned for you. The entire community is invited to the 2015-2016 Film Series, which begins Oct. 11 and ends Aug. 21.
Nine films will be shown on Sundays starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium after the evening minyan.
The films have been carefully chosen to interest everyone. Moderators will lead the discussions after specifically chosen films. A special “thank you” to the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for supporting the CAS 2015-2016 SHOWTIMES Film Series.
On Oct. 11, Deli Man, a documentary about Ziggy Gruber, the owner of Kenny and Ziggy’s in Houston, will kick off the series. The story of the American deli is the story of Jews — their immigration, migration, upward mobility, and western assimilation.
Of course the story isn’t Ziggy’s alone. It’s the history, anecdotes and humor that once made one’s local delicatessen the virtual epicenter not only of food, but of family, laughter and community. This documentary will make you yearn for a foot-high corned beef sandwich with a large juicy pickle on the side.
Herb And Dorothy is the second film in our series will be shown Sunday, Nov. 15. He was a postal clerk. She was a librarian. With their modest means, the couple managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. Meet Herb and Dorothy Vogel, whose shared passion and discipline have defied stereotypes and redefined what it means to be an art collector.
The third film, Deterrence, will screen Sunday, Jan. 10. Deterrence begins after the death of the Jewish president, whose successor is on the campaign trail to be re-elected.
On a stop in Colorado, he is suddenly snowed in and he and his entourage are forced to take shelter in a small diner where the group completely takes over from the diner’s owner. Suddenly, the movie moves into a suspense film as the new president learns that Iraq has invaded Kuwait and slaughtered hundreds of American soldiers. This will be a special film that you won’t want to miss.
The fourth film, Woman In Gold, to be shown Sunday, Feb. 21, is about a Jewish woman who sought to regain a world famous painting of her aunt’s plundered by the Nazis during World War II.
She did so not just to regain what was rightfully hers, but also to obtain some measure of justice for the death, destruction and massive art theft perpetrated by the Nazis. This film stars Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds and received much acclaim.
On Sunday, March 27, The Last Mentsch will be shown. This piece of historical fiction follows a man who has denied his Jewish heritage all his life. After surviving the horrors of Auschwitz, he sought to forget the trauma by creating a new identity for himself in Germany, one without Jewish friends or ties. Now faced with his own mortality, he suddenly decides he wants to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. The Last Mentsch is a powerful, emotional journey.
The sixth film, Beneath The Helmet, to be shown Sunday, May 1, is a coming-of-age story which follows the journey of five Israeli high-school graduates who are drafted into the army to defend their country.
At the age of 18, away from their homes, families and friends, these young individuals undergo a demanding, inspiring journey, revealing the core of who they are and who they want to be. Brought to us by the generosity of special donors, this film illustrates how these young soldiers are defending not only their homes, but also the values of peace, equality, opportunity, democracy, religious tolerance and women’s rights.
On Sunday, June 19, 2016 Everything Is Illuminated, the seventh film, will roll. In this film a young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local. The interpreter asks the old man, “Was there anti-Semitism in the Ukraine before the war?” Will they find the village? The past illuminates everything. This is a highly acclaimed film starring Elijah Wood written and directed by Liev Schreiber.
The eighth film, A Borrowed Identity, will screen Sunday, July 17. The film features a gifted Palestinian-Israeli boy who is given the chance to go to a prestigious Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem. As he desperately tries to fit in with his Jewish schoolmates and within Israeli society, he develops a friendship with another outsider, a boy suffering from muscular dystrophy, and gradually he becomes part of the home this boy shares with his mother.
After falling in love with a Jewish girl, he leaves school when their relationship is uncovered, and he discovers that he will have to sacrifice his identity in order to be accepted. Faced with a choice, he will have to make a decision that will change his life forever. This film will generate an interesting discussion after the showing. Don’t miss it.
In the last film of the season, Closer To The Moon, screening Sunday, Aug. 21, a band of Romanian freedom fighters pull the crime of the century in this gripping heist film based on an incredible true story. Bucharest, 1959: with anti-Semitism on the rise, a group of Jewish WWII resistance members, led by a police inspector and an academic, reteam for an audacious act of political agitation.
Posing as a movie crew, they hold up the Romanian National Bank by making it look like a film shoot. But what comes next is even more unbelievable when the group is handed down a punishment as outlandish as their crime. Game of Thrones’ Harry Lloyd co-stars in this slyly comic satire ripped from the strange-but-true pages of history.
The superstar committee members of the Showtime Film Series are Liz Chesser, Hedy Collins, Lisa Laudato, Posy McMillen, Foster Owen, Arthur Pawgan, Jane Pawgan, Debby Rice, Reggie Rog, Naomi Rosenfield, Rena Seiden, Jayna Sosland, Jim Stansbury, Robin Stein, Sheila Stocker, Roz Vaden, Barbara Weinberg, Dianne Young, Stephanie Zavala, Michael Linn and Ahavath Sholom President Ebi Lavi. And an added thank you goes to Mary Frances Antweil, Lisa Laudato, Jane Pawgan, Debby Rice, Sheila Stocker and Dianne Young. They spent many hours screening the films for your enjoyment.
For more information please call Congregation Ahavath Sholom at 817-731-4721.
See you at the movies!