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The first Jewish documentaries funded through Jewish Story Partners

By Gabe Friedman

(JTA) – The Jewish Story Partners foundation, which Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw helped found to fund Jewish-themed documentary films, announced recently its first slate of grantees. The 10 projects received a total of $225,000 from Jewish Story Partners, which has received initial funding from Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, the Maimonides Fund and the Jim Joseph Foundation. The films are:

“Coexistence My Ass!” – Directed by Amber Fares
The film follows Israeli comedian Noam Schuster, who is bent on using her standup routine to get Israelis to question their biases.

“The Conspiracy” – Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin
The film looks at the history behind the lie “that a dangerous cabal of powerful Jews controls the world.”

“Meredith Monk: Dancing Voice, Singing Body” – Directed by Billy Shebar and David Roberts
The groundbreaking composer and choreographer, who has won the National Medal of Arts and a MacArthur grant, gets her own film. The pop legend Bjork is a co-producer.

“Rabbi” – Directed by Sandi DuBowski
The story of pioneering Rabbi Amichau Lau-Lavie “from drag queen rebel to rabbinical student to founder of Lab/Shul, an everybody-friendly, God-optional, artist-driven, pop-up experimental congregation.”

“South Commons” – Directed by Joey Soloway
The Jewish creator of “Transparent” takes a hard look at the racial tensions in the Chicago community in which they grew up.

“Untitled Spiritual Care Documentary” – Directed by Luke Lorentzen
Mount Sinai hospitals in New York appoint interfaith chaplain residents each year – this film follows four of them.

“The Wild One” – Directed by Tessa Louise Salomé
The story of Jack Garfein, an Auschwitz survivor who went on to play a key role in the Actors’ Studio group and taught the craft to some of the last century’s biggest stars.

“Heroes” – Directed by Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen
The tale of a group of Ethiopian-Jewish activists who fought to keep their community alive in the 1970s to 1990s, a time of harsh dictatorship.

“Joyva” – Directed by Josh Freund and Sam Radutzky
The 100-plus-year-old Joyva company is among the most recognized Jewish-American candy companies, whose delicacies often end up at holiday celebrations such as Passover. The film focuses on the founder’s great-grandchildren, who are fighting to keep the business afloat.

“Walk With Me” – Directed by Heidi Levitt
Levitt tracks her husband’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience set to open in New Orleans

(JNS) Officials with the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in New Orleans announced on Wednesday, May 5, that the new attraction will open to the public on May 27. Originally slated to roll out its exhibits in February 2020, it was delayed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Exhibits will explore the many ways Jews in the American South influenced and were influenced by the distinct cultural heritage of their communities. The museum covers 13 states and more than 300 years of history, including colonial times, the Civil War, World War II and the civil-rights movement.

“We are excited to announce an opening date after a pause as a result of the pandemic,” said museum chair Jay Tanenbaum. “Jews in the South formed bonds of deep friendship and community-building with their non-Jewish neighbors. These stories show how people of different backgrounds come together to create the American experience. This can be a bridge to a better understanding and future for all of us.”

Multimedia exhibits illustrate how Jewish immigrants and succeeding generations adapted to life in the American South. The museum also addresses issues of race and antisemitism, as well as ways that Southern Jews navigated them.

The museum also continues to seek artifacts for its exhibits. For more information about donating artifacts, visit: 

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