The Temple to Host Community for Israeli Films to Mark Yom HaAtzmaut

Editor’s note: The Temple invites the community to join them in celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, on Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. for the showing of two short Israeli films and a light traditional Israeli dinner.

[by Rabbi David Ariel-Joel]
Associate Rabbi, The Temple

This year, we will celebrate 63 years since the establishment of the State of Israel. Israel is one of the greatest success stories in modern history and should be recognized for its outstanding advancements. How proud we should all be of all the achievements Israeli society has made the last 63 years.

As we all know the truth is a very elusive concept and, just as the image of a political Israel is elusive to us, so is the image that Israel holds for Israelis and for the Jews that live abroad. So, as we celebrate Israel’s birthday, the community is invited to examine the image of Israel we hold, and take a closer look at how image compares with the reality of life in the country.
Sometimes, it seems that if ‘the image of Israel’ we hold here, would encounter ‘the image of Israel’ that Israelis hold, these two fine ‘images’ would not remotely resemble one another. It is a rare opportunity when one vision is privy to the other. We will have such an opportunity at The Temple on May 14 – as we celebrate Israel’s Independence Day as we bring the finest Israeli culture into our midst.

The Temple invites everyone in the community to encounter some of the ways Israelis see themselves through Israeli culture. The Temple will show something never shown in Louisville before – movies created by Orthodox Jews from Israel. These internationally award winning 30-minute Israeli films will provide unique, wonderful diverse and interesting views of modern Israeli culture.

The films were produced by graduates of The Ma’ala Film School in Jerusalem, the only graduate film school in the world for Orthodox film creators.

In the films, you will see how burning issues of Jewish/Israeli identity are fearlessly yet artistically explored on screen. These excellent films, which won acclaim at several international film festivals, bring to us an unusual and authentic voice from the Israeli society and the Jewish world as a whole.

The themes and dilemmas in these films present ethical and moral questions that arouse profound discussions about Jewish and Israeli identity. The films portray a vibrant, moving Israel rarely glimpsed on international news networks or even in standard Israeli feature films and address some of the most sensitive and difficult issues facing Jewish communities today.
So mark your calendars!

On Saturday night, May 14, at 7 p.m. come to The Temple to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day with two short films.

A Shabbos Mother, winner of the Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem and the Best Female Film in the ‘Religion Today’ Film Festival in Trento Italy, tells the stories of three Israeli sisters – a radio broadcaster who has abandoned religious practice, an Orthodox ‘born again’ woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, and the film’s heroine, who is struggling to conceive a child – gather at their widowed mother’s house to celebrate Shabbat as a family.

Cohen’s Wife, which won prizes at the Students Film Festival in Potsdam, Germany, winner of Best Short Film at the ‘Religion Today’ Film Festival and Audience Favorite Prize in Westchester, MA, is a provocative modern day portrait of a couple torn between religious law and marital devotion. After being raped by a stranger, a young ultra-orthodox woman awaits a Rabbinical decision about whether or not her husband should divorce her. Jewish law states that “If the wife of a Cohen (descendant of a priest) is raped, she is forbidden to her husband.”

Following the films, a light dinner consisting of traditional Israeli hummus, falafel, and salad will be provided.

This program was funded by a generous grant from the Jewish Hospital Jewish Community Excellence Grant.  The Temple is most appreciative of the opportunities that this grant has allowed for the congregation to celebrate Israel Independence Day.  This is the second of three times that The Temple has been able to show movies from the Ma’ala Film School and expose the community to modern Israeli culture thanks to funding from Jewish Hospital.

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