Enjoy unique and inspiring storytelling as a community! Celebrate the diversity and joy of humanity and the powerful influence of Jewish artistry in our lives. Click here to view movie trailers or purchase featured books.
How it Works
Author talks and films are grouped in categories to help facilitate discussion. When you purchase your ticket(s), you will receive an email with link(s) to the author talk(s) and/or film(s) you selected. For the films, the links will be active for a specified week. You will have a full week to watch the film(s) at your convenience. A discussion will take place via Zoom after the last author talk or film in the theme has been taken place. Tickets are available for purchase per author talk or film or by series theme. Each purchase includes entrance to the corresponding Zoom discussion.
Tuesday, October 5 | 7 PMWritten by Mark OppenheimerAuthor Series This hybrid event can be attended either in person at the JCC of Greater New Haven or via zoom. On October 27, 2018, a gunman killed eleven Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill–the most deadly anti-Semitic attack in American history. In his book "Squirrel Hill," Mark Oppenheimer poignantly shifts the focus away from the criminal and his crime and instead presents the historic, spirited community at the center of this heartbreak. Click below to register for either in-person or virtual participation. Further details will be provided upon registration.
Welcome to the Kutsher's
Monday, October 11 - Sunday, October 17Directed by Caroline Laskow, Ian RosenbergFilm SeriesKutsher's Country Club was the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills. One of the legendary Borscht Belt hotels during its heyday, Kutsher's was family-owned and operated for over 100 years. Exploring the full Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience— and how it changed American pop culture in the comedy, sports and vacation industries— this award-winning documentary captures a last glimpse of a lost world as it disappears before our eyes. The Catskills resorts were not only a Jewish refuge and family vacation paradise, they also gave birth to American stand-up comedy, an NBA All-Star tradition, and all-inclusive resorts. This film brings to life how Kutsher’s thrived at the center of all this growth and excitement. Watch Wilt Chamberlain both playing ball and working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s; Red Auerbach as the Kutsher’s Sports Director; and Kutsher’s Maurice Stokes benefit game create an All-Star basketball tradition. Laugh with appreciation at Freddie Roman as his classic Borscht Belt routine still brings down the house, and wonder in amazement as Andy Kaufman wrestles a female Kutsher’s guest for $50. Marvel at the abundance of hearty kosher feasts where no one can get away with ordering just one main dish, and the non-stop whirl of recreational activities. And as the Catskills decline, this film provides unprecedented eye-witness documentation of Kutsher's from its 100th anniversary season through the next seven years until the hotel is sold and demolished in 2014. The story of Kutsher’s is uniquely American, unexpectedly moving and a vital chapter – previously unexplored – of the modern Jewish experience.
Monday, October 18 - Sunday, October 24 Directed by Mariana ChenilloFilm SeriesNora's Will is a comedy like nothing you've seen before, a truly unique tale of lost faith and eternal love from one of Mexico’s most talented new filmmakers, writer/director Mariana Chenillo. Nora's Will was named Mexico’s Best Picture of the Year, taking home seven Ariel Awards. Chenillo is the first female director ever to win Mexico’s Best Picture award.When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, José (Fernando Luján) is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes he is part of Nora's plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading José to reexamine their relationship and rediscover their undying love for each other.
Can We Talk About Israel?
Monday, October 25 | 7 PMWritten by Daniel Sokatch Author SeriesDaniel Sokatch is frequently asked for the abridged version of the Israel conflict. His book is an examination of the century-long struggle between two peoples that both perceive themselves as (and indeed are) victims.
Monday, October 25 - Sunday, October 31Directed by Avi NesherFilm SeriesArik, a teenage boy growing up in Haifa in 1968, gets a job working for Yankele Bride, a matchmaker. Yankele, a mysterious Holocaust survivor, has an office in back of a movie theater that shows only love stories, run by a family of seven Romanian dwarves in the seedy area by the port. Yankele introduces Arik to a new world, built on the ruins of an old one. When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, José (Fernando Luján) is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes he is part of Nora's plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading José to reexamine their relationship and rediscover their undying love for each other. Avi Nesher's latest film mixes comedy with drama as it tells a coming-of-age story unlike any you've ever seen before.
Once In A Lifetime
Monday, November 8 - Sunday, November 14Directed by Marie-Castille Mention-SchaarFilm SeriesA dedicated history teacher at a French high school, Anne Gueguen (Ariane Ascaride), is determined to give the best education she can to her underprivileged inner-city pupils. Overcoming their apathy, however, is proving to be more difficult than expected. Frustrated but undaunted, Anne tests her multicultural classroom with a unique assignment: a national competition on the theme of child victims of the Nazi concentration camps. The project is initially met with extreme resistance, until a face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the students’ attitudes dramatically. Despite their long-shot odds of winning, these once-rebellious teens soon begin to see one another – and themselves – in a whole new light. Once In A Lifetime demonstrates the enduring impact of the Holocaust in transforming future generations.
Sunday, November 14 | 10:30 AMWritten by Anne SebbaAuthor SeriesIn June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a couple with two young sons, were led separately from their prison cells on Death Row and electrocuted moments apart. Both had been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union, despite the fact that the US government was aware that the evidence against Ethel was shaky at best and based on the perjury of her own brother.This book is the first to focus on one half of that couple for more than thirty years, and much new evidence has surfaced since then. Ethel was a bright girl who might have fulfilled her personal dream of becoming an opera singer, but instead found herself struggling with the social mores of the 1950s. She longed to be a good wife and perfect mother to her two small boys, while battling the political paranoia of the McCarthy era, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and a mother who never valued her. Because of her profound love for and loyalty to her husband, she refused to incriminate him, despite government pressure on her to do so. Instead, she courageously faced the death penalty for a crime she hadn’t committed, orphaning her two young sons.Seventy years after her trial, this is the first time Ethel’s story has been told with the full use of the dramatic and tragic prison letters she exchanged with her husband, her lawyer and her psychotherapist over a three-year period, two of them in solitary confinement. Hers is the resonant story of what happens when a government motivated by fear tramples on the rights of its citizens.
Sammy Davis Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Monday, November 22- Sunday, November 28Directed by Sam PollardFilm SeriesSammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.
The Best Assassination in the Nation
Thursday, December 2 | 7 PM Written by Joshua CohenAuthor SeriesBenjamin Gold is a private eye who in 1952 takes on a murder case that implicates his ex-in-laws. Gold once practiced law but changed professions after cracking up at the end of the war. The murder victim was crusading lawyer Morry Sorin, who was shot in an apparent hold-up. The police consider the case closed, but Sorin’s daughter suspects a conspiracy.Gold has a personal score to settle with his former in-laws. He is a Jew who married into a wealthy Gentile family that never accepted him despite his wholehearted efforts to assimilate. Gold’s marriage failed, but not before it irreconcilably alienated him from his own parents and brother.Gold relives this history as he investigates Sorin’s murder. He also finds himself the target of an F.B.I. sting over his association with Braunstein, his former psychiatrist whom the government is trying to deport as a Communist. Gold cracks the Sorin case, but to dubious effect, given his ex-in-laws’ success in skirting prosecution. He’s left to devise his own way of achieving justice.
Monday, December 13 - Sunday, December 19Directed by Isaac CheremFilm Series"Leona" is an intimate, insightful, and moving film that tells the story of a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love. Ripe with all the drama and interpersonal conflicts of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful – there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path.
The Orphan's Daughter
Tuesday, December 14 | 7 PMWritten by Jan CherubinThis semi-autobiographical novel provides insight into the life in a Jewish Boys Orphanage in the 1920's and the lasting effects of having lived there.