Sidewalk’s Jewish Film Week (November 12 – 18) is a cinematic exploration of Jewish culture, history, art, and life in Israel, programmed by Dan Seigel. Here are a few words he had to say about the event:
This is a hard post to write. As I sit here, thinking about a week of films that showcase the life and love and laughter through the Jewish lens, an Israeli army bears down on Gaza City, weeks after a horrific attack on Israeli citizens. It’s hard to write about anything else, to view Jewishness through any other lens. It’s hard to be hopeful when, yet again, the hatred of Jews across the free world has reared its head in demonstration after demonstration.
Right now, it’s hard to focus on the laughter and love, the life and livelihood surrounding the Jewish people. Perhaps that’s what we must do, though. After 9/11, Americans mourned and burned with rage and fought against the smoke and ash, and we came out with a newfound determination that terror would never change our way of life. With that same determination, in our small way here in Birmingham, Alabama, we have to focus on the things that no one can take away from us.
So we focus on that life: in Rabbi on the Block, a Black American Israelite rabbi focuses on building a bridge between the Black community and the Jewish community, a bridge between peoples focused on justice, and the breaking down of gatekeeping barriers in Jewish life.
We focus on The Klezmer Project, a pseudo-documentary feature, which explores the love of music and the failing Klezmer tradition across Europe. We focus on Rosenwald, which tells us the story of a philanthropist who focused on education for young Black Americans in the Jim Crow south. We focus on Nathan-ism (a repeat from this year’s Sidewalk Film Festival), in which a Jewish artist who guarded the Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials brings his memory to life.
These stories, told in vivid sound and color, are what all the hate, all the war, all the ugliness of the world can’t take away. There are many more than these four features, and I hope you come and find more than entertainment. I hope you find life, love, laughter, and hope for our future.
The 2023 Jewish Film Week will showcase 11 feature films across the 7 day event, with most films screening twice. Individual tickets can be purchased below by selecting the title and showtime of interest. Four or Eight Ticket Packages are also available. Find tickets, packages, and showtimes here.
A special thank you to our sponsors: Sheri and Dr. Jimmy Krell via the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, The Bernice Barstein Fund at the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz PC, Collat Jewish Family Services, Gail and Jeffrey Bayer, The Joan & Milton Jacobson Cultural Arts Fund of the Grafman Endowment Fund, Bridget Sikora Realtor, Roy & Poynor Properties, Leitman Perlman Inc, Levite Jewish Community Center, Temple Beth El, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, Southern Jewish Life.