A woman finds humor in Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II, an Israeli bride is stranded at a train station on her wedding day and African Jews are relocated to Israel.
These are some of the cinematic stories brought to the silver screen at this year’s Phoenix Jewish Film Festival.
“We offer films from all over the world,” explains Sheldon Pierson, who founded the festival with his wife, Phyllis, in 1995, “giving attendees an opportunity to see how Jewish people live and think everywhere.”
The festival runs Sunday through Thursday at United Artists Pavilions Theaters in Scottsdale, with one film shown per night.
The films, in the order they will be screened, include: The German “The Ritchie Boys” (about German-Jewish immigrants joining the U.S. Army during World War II); the Israeli “Live and Become” (about “Operation Moses,” the 1985 project to transport Ethiopian Jews to Israel); the German “Go for Zucker: An Unorthodox Comedy”; the Israeli “Rashevski’s Tango” (a romantic comedy); the Hungarian “My Mother’s Courage” (a dark comedy about a woman in Nazi-held Budapest); and, from Syria, “The Syrian Bride” (about a littleknown portion of Israel’s story).
The stated mission of the event is to “facilitate a stronger sense of identity and belonging within the local Jewish community,” and to “reach out to the non-Jewish community to improve awareness and understanding of Jewish culture and experience.”
The festival board is run by volunteers from local temples and other Jewish organizations. Its popularity is growing.
“In the 10 years, (we) had to ask others to join us,” says Sheldon. “Now, some ask us to become participating members.”
Preceding the festival will be an opening gala, including a screening of “The Ritchie Boys” and dessert reception, 7 p.m. Saturday at Tempe Beth Israel, 10460 N. 56th St., Phoenix. Cost of the gala is $30 per person.
Film Festival When: Sunday through Thursday
Where: United Artists Pavilions Theaters, 9090 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Cost: $8.50 per film for adults, $5 for children
Information: (480) 451-1788, www.phxjewishfilm.org