Jewish film festival celebrates ‘Sweet Sixteen’

Jewish film festival celebrates ‘Sweet Sixteen’

Theodore Bikel channels Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye in a new documentary.
Theodore Bikel channels Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye in a new documentary.

The 16th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by JCC MetroWest, will host a selection of new and award-winning feature films and documentaries from March 26 to April 10. Several of the events feature post-screening discussions with filmmakers and other guests.

Among the highlights:

Opening night, Sunday, March 26
How to Win Enemies (Argentina)
8:45 p.m. 

Lucas, a young lawyer obsessed with crime novels meets smart, sexy, and beautiful Barbara. After Barbara goes home with Lucas, he wakes up alone, missing a secret stash of cash — game on! What was once a love story becomes the caper to end all capers. Post-screening dessert reception.

Sunday, March 27 
In Search of Israeli Cuisine (USA)
3 p.m.

This portrait of the Israeli people told through food puts a literal face on the culture of Israel. Profiling chefs, home cooks, farmers, vintners, and cheese makers drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today — Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze – a rich, complex and human story emerges.

Sunday, April 3
Dough (United Kingdom)
3 p.m.

An old Jewish baker struggles to keep his business afloat until his young Muslim apprentice accidentally drops cannabis in the dough and sends sales sky high.

Monday, April 4
Once In a Lifetime (France)
7:30 p.m.

A French high school teacher gives her underprivileged and unenthusiastic inner city students a unique assignment: participate in a national competition on the theme of child victims of the Nazi concentration camps. After a meeting with a Holocaust survivor, the students begin to see one another in a different light.

Wednesday, April 6
Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem (USA)
12:30 p.m.

Portraits of two beloved icons — Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel — are woven together in this enchanting documentary. The two men have much in common: wit, wisdom, and talent, all shot through with deep humanity and Yiddishkeit. This film combines Bikel’s charismatic storytelling and masterful performances with a broader exploration of Aleichem’s remarkable life and work.

Saturday, April 9
A Tale of Love and Darkness (Israel)
8:45 p.m.

Natalie Portman makes her directorial and screenwriting debut as well as starring in this adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Amos Oz, the story of a boy who grows up in war torn Jerusalem and becomes a famous writer.

Closing event, Sunday, April 10 
Rock in the Red Zone (Israel)
7 p.m. 

An intimate portrayal of life on the edge in the war torn city of Sderot. For 13 years, the town once known for a prolific rock scene that revolutionized Israeli music has been the target of ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza strip. Through the life stories of its citizens, the film chronicles the town’s trauma and reveals its enduring spirit. Post-screening desert reception.

Most of the films will be screened at the Maurice Levin Theater, JCC MetroWest, West Orange. For information, including full schedule, ticket purchases, trailers, and screen times, visit or call 973-530-3417.

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