2015 Seattle Jewish Film Festival

  • SJFF Review: Hanna’s Journey

    SJFF Review: Hanna’s Journey

    Dir. Julia von Heinz (2013, Israel/Germany) Is it possible to set a German-Jewish romantic comedy in the still-long shadow of the Holocaust? The answer, obviously, is “it’s complicated.” When Berliner Hanna schemes her way to Israel to pad her resume through her estranged mother’s volunteer organization, she (predictably) finds herself drawn to Itay, the adorable(…)

  • SJFF Review: Eden Rests

    SJFF Review: Eden Rests

    Dir. Ofer Kapota, Natalie Chen, Hadar Sitvuk (2013, Israel) Screens with Hanna’s Journey In 1920s Palestine, back before statehood, when Tel Aviv was emerging as a real city from its shtetl and Arab village roots, there was a struggle going on. It wasn’t between Jews and Arabs, though you could certainly find those issues emerging.(…)

  • SJFF Review: Havana Curveball

    SJFF Review: Havana Curveball

    Dir. Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider (U.S./Cuba, 2014) For Mica Jarmel-Schneider, the plans to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba are exciting news — albeit a bit too late. As his Bar Mitzvah approached several years ago, the athletic San Francisco teenager mulled various community-service projects before hitting on the idea of sending baseball(…)

  • SJFF Review: Farewell Baghdad

    SJFF Review: Farewell Baghdad

    Dir. Nissim Dayan (Israel, 2014) Based on the book “The Dove Flyer” by Eli Amir, “Farewell Baghdad” (a.k.a. “The Dove Flyer”) recounts in dramatic detail the disintegration of Iraq’s Jewish community. Established during the Babylonian exile in 586 BCE, Iraq’s Jewish community withstood thousands of years of changing history and served as the seat of(…)

  • Gay Gezunt! An LGBTQ Short Series

    Gay Gezunt! An LGBTQ Short Series

    Four films: Facing Fear, Summer Vacation, The Seder, and Zazaland from three countries: The U.S., Canada and Israel highlight the way gay life has become a part of regular life for so many Jewish families. Each of these four films approaches homosexuality in a different way. Facing Fear (Dir. Jason Cohen and Steven Okazaki, U.S.,(…)

  • SJFF Review: Theodor Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

    SJFF Review: Theodor Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

    Dir. John Lollos (U.S., 2014) Based on Theodor Bikel’s acclaimed stage play “Sholom Aleichem: Laughter through Tears” and narrated by the Emmy-winning Alan Alda, director John Lollos’ double-portrait musical documentary attempts to preserve Yiddish culture through song and dance, blending the stories of two revered Jewish icons: Sholom Aleichem and Bikel himself, perhaps the greatest(…)

  • SJFF Review: Quality Balls

    SJFF Review: Quality Balls

    Dir. Barry Avrich (U.S., 2013) David Steinberg’s the funniest guy you hardly know. Many comedians today see Steinberg as the man who gave them their craft. Departing from the Borscht Belt humor of their fathers, even powerhouses such as Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David look at Steinberg as the guy who gave them permission to(…)

  • SJFF Review: Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion

    SJFF Review: Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion

    Dir. Lana Citron (U.K., 2012) “Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion” is a sweet, playful telling of a young girl who craves acceptance and adventure. When Hannah’s friend heads off in a fancy white dress to participate in holy communion, giddily explained to Hannah as “the best day ever,” Hannah embarks on a mission to join in(…)

  • SJFF Review: Accidental Activist

    SJFF Review: Accidental Activist

    Dir. Cameron Levin (U.S., 2014) Often times a tragedy can bring out the best in people. Such is the case with Cheryl Stumbo, one of the survivors of the shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006. Stumbo, who then worked as the Federation’s marketing director, endured multiple surgeries and setbacks in the(…)

The Jewish Community

Arts News

With ‘Jewish Journey,’ PBS traces 350 years of migrations

With ‘Jewish Journey,’ PBS traces 350 years of migrations

By Tom Tugend, JTA World News Service LOS ANGELES (JTA) — “You survive, you honor us by living,” said Martin Greenfield, now a New York master tailor, recalling his father’s words after he was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp. The quote could easily be taken as the theme of “The Jewish Journey: America,” a(…)


‘Kosher Soul’ plays on stereotypes — amusing some, angering others

‘Kosher Soul’ plays on stereotypes — amusing some, angering others

By Anthony Weiss, JTA World News Service LOS ANGELES (JTA) — In the first episode of “Kosher Soul,” O’Neal McKnight, a Southern-raised African-American man about to marry a white Jewish woman from Seattle, has an epiphany about his upcoming marriage — it’s like a black-and-white cookie. “It’s all about the whole cookie,” he explains to his fiancee, Miriam(…)


Jon Stewart to leave ‘The Daily Show’

(JTA) — Jon Stewart will be stepping down from his post behind the desk of “The Daily Show” later this year, ending a 16-year run. Stewart, 52, announced his plans to leave during Tuesday’s taping of the show, a move that was confirmed by a statement from Comedy Central. Although Stewart did not found “The(…)