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.


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?

Segovia: The light after the Holocaust

SEGOVIA nerea-holocausto 2018-02‘Education and remembrance of the Holocaust, our shared responsibility’ is the motto under which this year is celebrated the Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, an event that can not be overlooked in Segovia, because “Segovia is a city pierced by Jewish history, “says the mayor, Clara Luquero, in the central act of the tribute to the victims, among which there were not only Jews, he recalls, but there were also residents of the city and the province.

“Preserving the memory of the Shoa – a term that identifies the genocide ordered by the dictator Adolf Hitler – is an ethical imperative,” reiterates Uriel Macías, press officer of the Israeli Embassy in Spain; who regrets that “after the Holocaust nothing can be the same as before, because the extermination of a million and a half children is the clearest proof of how far human evil can go”.

An evil that not only the Jews suffered, but “all humanity was a victim of the Holocaust,” says Miguel de Lucas, general director of the Center Sefarad-Israel, so keep the memory alive to prevent something like this from happening again ” It is everyone’s responsibility. “

SURVIVOR And what better way to preserve that memory than to listen to one of the survivors of Nazi injustice. Zvi Szlamovicz is a Belgian Jew born in the middle of World War II. His mother and aunt died in a gas chamber in the Mauthausen concentration camp; his father was imprisoned, but he survived several months in prison until Belgium was released; his sister Raquel was hidden in a convent and had to change his name to Maria Teresa not to be deported.

And he, being only a baby, was welcomed by a Belgian couple who belonged to the resistance and saw in the rescue of the little Jews a way to fight against the fascism that prevailed in Europe. “This saved 3,000 Jewish children during the Holocaust”, thanks to the collaboration of 150,000 people opposed to Nazism and with the courage to fight against it.

His story, which he knows thanks to the story of his father, his sister and, above all, his “godparents”, as he calls the parents who welcomed him, has to be told and listened to, like that of the few remaining survivors, because in his words is the key so that history does not repeat itself.
After the heart-rending story of Szlamovicz, the six candles of the Remembrance were ignited – one by the six million Jews murdered; the second for the million and a half children who killed the Nazis; the third for the righteous who helped the Jews to save themselves; the fourth in memory of the other groups that suffered Nazi barbarism, such as gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals …; the fifth by the surviving Jews who re-established their lives in Israel and the diasporas; and the sixth for the preservation of memory. With the candles and lighting the room, the Councilor for Culture, Marifé Santiago, read a fragment of his book ‘We look at the piety from the wire,’ and heard ‘Gelem Gelem’, the gypsy international anthem.

Then, 6th grade students of the Fray Juan de la Cruz school dramatized quotes from the diary of Anne Frank and performed two pieces of music. And to finish the act, students of 2nd, 3rd, 4th of ESO and 1st of Baccalaureate of the IES Giner de los Ríos performed the dramatization of poetic, descriptive and dramatic texts, adding to the wish of Theodor W. Adorno: that Auschwitz did not repeat

Cristiano #Ronaldo cooperates with #Maguen David Adom-Israel

The first aid and emergency organization Magen David Adom of Israel and Abbott Israel have joined forces with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo for a new campaign that encourages Israelis to donate blood.

Star Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo, a regular blood donor, appears in the “#BeThe1” campaign, part of a nationwide blood donation campaign that will take place at dozens of blood donation sites throughout Israel.

Blood donations are vital for saving lives, but many people do not know them until they or their loved ones have a critical need. Few people know that 234 million operations that require blood transfusions are performed worldwide annually. In fact, 1 in 7 people hospitalized requires a blood transfusion that saves lives.

While 108 million units of blood are collected annually around the world, only a small percentage of the billions of people eligible to donate do so. For those who require a blood transfusion, the need is even greater since the blood has a very short lifespan. Only through a steady and regular flow of voluntary donors can the required supply be guaranteed.

For this reason, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has joined the Magen David Adom campaign. Israel’s national rescue service, together with Abbott Israel, are cooperating to promote and raise awareness on the issue, as well as to encourage younger members to join the group of regular donors.

“It is within our faculties to achieve a change by donating blood. Each donation can help save 3 people, either in an emergency or in long-term care, “says Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of the Portuguese soccer team and Real Madrid player. “This is why I am excited to join forces with Abbott Israel and the MDA campaign, which will help raise awareness of the importance of donating blood and will encourage people around the world to become blood donors by life and lifeguards “.

Ronaldo, one of the best soccer players in the world, is the first international ambassador of the BeThe1 initiative, active around the world in order to inspire as many people as possible to become regular blood #donors and help save lives .

Moises Bentata and Moshe Castel Exhibition at Centro Sefarad Israel in Madrid

moises bentata cartel exposicionI had opportunity yesterday of visiting the opening of the Temporary exhibition of Moises Bentata and Moshe Castel at Centro Sefarad Israel in Madrid. It was not only an honour but a very special feeling to see how a friend of mine has converted into a well named artist.

The opening was attended by the directive staff of Centro Sefarad Israel of Madrid -Esther Bendahan- , many  friends of Moises and some other artists (as Daniel Quintero) who showed their support to this Exhibition.

All my best Wishes to Moises Bentata in his professional challenge of arts.

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Moises Bentata with Daniel Quintero and me during the opening
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A moment of the opening with Moises Bentata, Esther Bendahan -Casa Sefarad Isarel- and Mercedes Bentata -family of Moises-
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This one impacted me!

Shoa Remembrance Act at Spain Central Government

On Monday, January 29, an act in memory of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust took place in the Senate of Madrid. The Act was chaired by D.Pío García Escudero, President of the Senate, and some of the speakers were, in addition to Mr.Escudero himself, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the Chief Rabbi of Spain -Rab Moshe Bendahan-, The Minister of Justice of the Spanish Government, Mr. Rafael Catalá, the Director of the Institute of Gypsy Culture and the President of the Amical Association Mathausen.
Six candles were lit on the spot by representatives of the different collectives.
The act was emotional and very solemn.