10 October 2007

San Francisco: Latin American Jewish film series

The Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) in San Francisco, California offers a multitude of programming with genealogical links. In 1854, the Jewish Education Society began operation at the height of the Gold Rush; some 40 years later, JES was teaching hundreds of Jewish children. In 1958, the name was changed to the BJE.

A film series on Jews in Latin America is set, although you've just missed the first one:

Tuesday, October 9, 7 pm
Autumn Sun (Sol de Otono), 1996 (Argentina)

In order to impress her Orthodox brother who will be visiting Buenos Aires from Boston, middle-aged Clara Bernstein takes out a personal ad seeking a Jewish man to pose as her fiancé. When the sole person to answer the ad turns out to be a gentile, Clara decides to tutor him in the art of being Jewish. Shown in video projection; discussion follows screening. 110 minutes, in Spanish with English subtitles.

Tuesday, November 6, 7pm
Like a Bride (Novia Que Te Vea), 1994 (Mexico)

Like a Bride follows two young Jewish women‹one the child of Turkish immigrants and the other the child of Eastern European refugees‹as they come of age in Mexico in the tumultuous 1960s. Shown in video projection; discussion follows screening. 115 minutes, in Spanish and Ladino with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the International Latino Film Festival

Tuesday, December 11, 7pm
The Lost Embrace (El Abrazo Perdido), 2004 (Argentina)

The Lost Embrace presents the life of Once, Buenos Aires' old working class Jewish district, through the eyes of Ariel, a college dropout now working in his mother's lingerie shop. Feeling suffocated by his small world, he schemes to escape to Europe. Meanwhile, his emotional life remains dominated by the mysterious absence of his father, who abandoned the family for Israel when Ariel was a young child. Shown in video projection; discussion follows screening. 100 minutes, in Spanish with English subtitles.

Other programs of interest:

An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba:
A Reading and Talk by Ruth Behar
Monday, October 15, 7:30pm

Anthropologist Ruth Behar was born in Havana and left as a child, part of the exodus of Jews who emigrated en masse after the 1959 Revolution. In her memoir chronicling the obsessively recurring trips she made back as an adult, Behar describes her encounter with the Jews who stayed and the life that might have been hers had her family remained in Cuba.

The Jewish Gaucho and the Indigenous Jews of Entre Rios:
A Talk by Kitty Millet
Monday, December 3, 7:30pm

Alberto Gerchunoff is primarily known for his short narratives concerning the Jewish gauchos of the Pampas in Argentina, a community situated in the region of Entre Rios. Gerchunoff's stories mimic tales and aggadot familiar to a community well aware of its religious traditions, suggesting to them that Jewish identity emerges naturally from the Pampas.

And, from another corner of the Jewish world - India - don't miss

Dropped from Heaven:
A Reading and Talk with Sophie Judah
Tuesday, November 13, 7.30pm

In the mythical Indian village of Jwalanagar, the Jewish traditions of the Bene Israel have survived for more than 2,000 years, but the 20th century brings with it major change. In these 19 connected stories spanning more than a century, the families of one community find their traditional way of life altered forever.

BJE even offers one-on-one genealogy help, from noon-2pm on the following Sundays: October 7, November 11, December 2, January 6 and February 3

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