Top 5 “Jewish Films” for Oscar Season

steven-spielberg-jew-oscarThe Academy Awards are rapidly approaching, and many people are curious about the films on this year’s short lists. This Oscar season’s short lists are filled with films that feature a diverse crop of directors, actors and plotlines. Some of this season’s best, however, are films with Jewish themes. Here are the top five Jewish films to watch this Oscar season.

 “Foxtrot”

This gut-wrenching film deals with a variety of heavy topics including the grief of parents who lost their soldier son, the joys and challenges of marriage and the boredom of daily life in the army. Directed by Samuel Moaz, “Foxtrot” was named the second-best film at the Venice International Film Festival and is on the shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. “Foxtrot” also won the award for Best Film at Israel’s Ophir Awards despite generating controversy in Israel over the film’s portrayal of Israeli control of the West Bank.

“Foxtrot” follows an affluent Tel Aviv couple who learn that their son has been killed in the line of duty. The film stars Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler, and it opens in U.S. theaters on March 2, 2018.


“In the Fade”

Directed by Fatih Akin, this German film dramatizes the rise of neo-Nazism through the murder of Nuri and Rocco Sekerci, a Kurdish man and his small son. Katja Sekerci, the surviving widow, pursues revenge against the neo-Nazis who murdered her family. The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and is shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

“In the Land of Pomegranates”

This documentary follows a mix of young Israeli and Palestinian men and women who are brought together in a scenic German town. The Israelis and Palestinians live under the same roof, go on joint excursions in the countryside, take a riverboat cruise and argue for hours on end as part of a program called “Vacation from War.” This program began in 2002 and aims “not to make participants love each other [but if] only five people change their attitudes…that’s progress.”

“In the Land of Pomegranates” uses the arguments between the program participants to explore the chasm between young Israelis and Palestinians. Directed by Hava Kohav Beller, the young Israelis’ and Palestinians’ arguments are set against the backdrop of the contradictory meanings of the word “pomegranate” in Hebrew: “fruit” and “hand grenade.”

“The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm”

Few people have managed to find ways to teach young children about the Holocaust, but this short documentary attempts to tackle the issue. In “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm,” 10 year old Elliot asks his great-grandfather, Jack Feldman, about the Holocaust. Feldman, a Holocaust survivor, opens up to his American-born great-grandson about his experiences. The goal of the film was to transmit Feldman’s experience “gently and with clarity.” The documentary will premier on HBO on January 27, 2018, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


“116 Cameras”

This documentary is on the Oscar shortlist for Best Short Documentary and gives a behind-the-scenes look at filming a Holocaust survivor’s testimony. Specifically, it focuses on how filmmakers worked to preserve the memories of Anne Frank’s surviving stepsister, Eva Schloss, in the form of an interactive, holographic image.

Oscar season always brings new documentaries and foreign films into the American limelight. People spend days watching and discussing films on the short-list, and almost everyone has an opinion about which film should win the award. So, what do you think? Which of these Jewish films is your favorite?

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/idolchatter/2018/01/oscar-seasons-top-5-jewish-films.html

Pepe Mel, ex football player and actual coach writes a new novel

Known in the sports field for his long professional career, Mel is a rare insider in his profession when combining his work with writing; “The Sephardic key” (La llave Sefardí)

is the fourth book published.

A book whose background reflects the author’s concern for any form of fanaticism, whatever it may be, and which he captures through a story of intrigue, in which such notable characters as the painter Velázquez are part of an intricate puzzle, whose end It will not leave the reader indifferent.

A key carried by a Jew expelled from Spain – Samuel Ha Levi -, will pass from generation to generation and will coexist alongside their owners what will happen to them throughout their different lives.

On the other hand, the obligation to return to Sepharad will also be a heavy burden that the descendants of Samuel’s saga will have to live with.

This fact will be present in the passing of time and will take the different protagonists to periods and places as disparate as the archdeacon Ferran Martínez’s Sevilla, to the time of the Holy Inquisition, to Velázquez’s Madrid, to Nazi Germany and its Holocaust, to the 11-M and the dates of the Jihadist attacks in Madrid.

In short, The Sephardic Key is a book that aims to stir the conscience about fanaticism that uses literary resources that every novel must have to engage the reader with a suggestive story of suspense, which reveals facts as worrisome as the Palestinian and Jewish problem.

José Mel Pérez was born in Madrid on February 28, 1963, he was a professional footballer for many years. He finished his playing career in the French team of Angers, and has trained in the Premier League in West Brombich Albion.

Established in Seville for years for his close relationship with Real Betis Balompié, he is currently a football coach. Passionate about reading, history and archeology, he is a tireless traveler in search of stories that he can take to his books.

El Mentiroso (2011), El Camino al mas allá (2013) and La Prueba (2016) are his first three novels. Now he returns with an exciting story: The Sephardic Key.

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European Days of The Jewish Culture in Spain

sephardic days 2018This has been announced by the Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters, which has advanced that this year the activities will revolve around ‘storytelling’, which serves as a tool for the dissemination of the Jewish historical heritage in Europe.

Specifically, in Barcelona will take place on September 2nd will be an open day of the Center MUHBA El Call and the Domus de Sant Honorat; while in Calahorra (La Rioja), on Saturday 8 will be inaugurated the exhibition ‘Shalom! Sepharad ‘and on Sunday 23rd, there will be a guided tour of the Jewish Quarter and the Cathedral, to contemplate its Sephardic documentary heritage; Hebrew and Arabic writing workshops; the concert ‘The Spain of the three cultures’; and a dinner tasting skewers in the Sephardic style.

On the other hand, Cáceres will host a guided visit to the New and Old Jewish quarters of the city on September 2. It will be an open day of various enclaves related to the Jewish heritage (the Island Palace, the Interpretation Center of the Bujaco Tower, the tourist center Baluarte de los Pozos and the Center for the Dissemination of Holy Week), and two exhibitions (‘Encuentro en Sefarad: from light to secret’ and ‘Jewish Quarters in Spain and Portugal’) can be visited at the Palace of the Island and the Baluarte de los Pozos, respectively.

Córdoba celebrates the VI Day in the Sephardic Autumn program, which will take place from September 1 to 23. This new edition will reflect the theme of the Storytelling, the Oral Narrative, and among the more than fifty activities scheduled, highlight the days of open doors on day 2 of the Al-Andalus Alive Museum, the Synagogue, the Archaeological Museum and the House de las Cabezas or the photographic exhibition Armonías de Azul y Ocre: Ritmo Vital and Sephardic Festival, which can be visited from September 1 to 23 and from Monday to Friday at the Rey Heredia Cultural Space.

Also, in Estella (Navarra) throughout the weekend you can visit the exhibition ‘Refranero popular Sephardic’ in the courtyard of the House of Culture Fray Diego de Estella and on Sunday September 2 will take place the guided tour ‘Visiting the aljamas’ .

SEPHARDY GASTRONOMIC DAYS

In Jaen, gastronomy will be one of the protagonists of the Days, which will last between September 1 and 9, with the celebration at the Taberna Pilar del Arrabalejo and the Parador de Jaén of the Sephardic Gastronomic Days.

Also in the capital Jaén, on September 2 there will be a guided tour of the Jewish Jaén; On the 6th at 8:00 pm, the conference ‘Telling stories: legends and traditions of the Judería de Jaén’ will take place at the Mudéjar Hall of the Municipal Palace of Culture, and the same location will host on Friday 7 at 9:00 pm the screening of the documentary ‘The last Sephardi’. On Saturday 8, at 9:00 pm, the Tourdion Chamber Choir will give the concert ‘Sefarad en el corazón’, in the Patio of the Municipal Palace of Culture.

From Friday 31 to Sunday 2, at the Jardines del Cid in the city of León there will be workshops on medieval games, as well as a theatrical tour of the Jewish Quarter, which will depart every day from the Plaza de San Martín. In the Palacio del Conde Luna, the Teatro Abierto will perform the Desiguales work on Friday the 31st at 8:00 pm, and Milo Ke Mandarini will offer a concert on Saturday the 1st at 8:30 pm.

In Lucena (Córdoba), in addition to the exhibition ‘Sayings in ladino’ that can be seen in different locations in the city – Castillo del Moral, Municipal Public Library, Palace of the Counts of Santa Ana and Casa de los Mora – there is activities that will occupy the whole month of September.

In Monforte de Lemos (Lugo), on September 2 there will be guided tours to the Jewish quarter of the town, which will depart at 11.30 and 6.00 pm from the Municipal Tourism Office (in the Rúa Comercio), and a concert of traditional music Iberian and Sephardic by Paco Díez (September 2 at 8 pm at the House of Culture Poeta Lois Pereiro).

In Oviedo (Asturias), the Beit Emunáh Synagogue (Fontán Street, 11), will open its doors on the 2nd to host an exhibition of books and a session of Jewish storytellers (from 12 to 14 hours), in addition to the exhibition of the ” Sephardic sayings “on the balconies of the Casina throughout the weekend.

Tarazona (Zaragoza), meanwhile, will organize a guided tour of its Jewish quarter, which will start at the Tourism Office of the town on Sunday 2 at 10.30.

In Segovia, on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 (1:00 pm) there will be the guided tour ‘Meet the Jewish Quarter’ through the streets of the Jewish quarter, evoking the Jewish legacy of the city through the visit of the Judería Educational Center and of the San Andrés Gate.

In the afternoon, at 5:00 pm, there will be a tour ‘From the synagogue to the cemetery’, an emotional itinerary recalling the daily life of the Segovian Jews. On Sunday, September 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.