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2018 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival


February 1 – 22, 2018

Award-winning films from around the world will light up screens across Cincinnati during the Mayerson JCC’s popular month long festival. The festival features the best of the thriving independent film industry showcasing established and emerging filmmakers, and provocative, humorous, inspiring, and enlightening films.

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Opening Night: Hummus! The Movie

Thursday, Feb 1
7pm at the 20th Century Theater

This eclectic, touching documentary investigates the quirky history of hummus, the superfood sweeping America. The film explores the disputed origins of the popular dish, while revealing the power of a simple staple to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together in the Middle East, America, and around the world. See the trailer here!

Special Feature: Galit Roichman, Scholar-in-Residence 
Israeli film expert and screenwriter Galit Roichman leads us on a journey into Israeli cinema, society, and culture.

Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Monday, February 5
7pm at the Esquire Theatre

Six hours of lost archival interview footage from 1968 reveals one of modern history’s greatest leaders: David Ben-Gurion. Living in his secluded desert home, the 82-year old leader has a clear hindsight perspective on the Zionist enterprise. Ben-Gurion’s introspective soul searching provides a surprising vision for the crucial decisions Israel faces today. See the trailer here!

Special Feature:  Israeli film expert and screenwriter Galit Roichman will discuss “Ben-Gurion – The Zionist Mythology.”

In partnership with University of Cincinnati – Department of Judaic Studies.

This film is dedicated to the memory of Phyllis Binik Thomas, a founding member of the film festival committee, and a passionate educator and lover of Israel.

The 90-Minute War

Tuesday, February 6
7pm at the Mariemont Theatre

Under the threat of renewed hostilities, Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to end their intractable conflict once and for all – with a winner-take-all soccer match. Based on the book by Itay Meirson, this film captures the drama leading up to the outcome of the game, tackling a serious subject as a politically incorrect mockumentary. See the trailer here!

Special Feature: “The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Laugh Till You Cry,” a discussion led by Israeli film expert and screenwriter Galit Roichman, will explore the use of a humorous  lens on this serious issue.

Home Port

Wednesday, February 7
7pm at the Kenwood Theatre

Aharon, a veteran seaman, returns to land after 30 years determined to fix his broken relationship with his daughter. He begins work at the Ashdod Port and soon finds himself at odds with the corruption that has reigned at the port for years. As he fights the status quo, he soon realizes that life on land is more complicated than he thought. See the trailer here!

Special Feature: Short film screening of The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Shira Gabay.

In partnership with Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati.


Thursday, February 8
7pm at the Kenwood Theatre

A known troublemaker, 17-year-old Asher is torn between two worlds: that of his strict father, who sees him as successor to the family’s scaffolding business, and his gentle  literature teacher, who allows him to see new possibilities for himself. When a sudden tragedy sends his life into a dangerous spin, Asher makes choices from which there is no turning back. See the trailer here!

Special Feature:  Explore “The Individual in the National Sphere of Israeli Cinema” with Israeli film expert and screenwriter Galit Roichman.

In partnership with the Cincinnati Jewish Teen Collective.

Across the Waters

Sunday, February 11
3pm at the Mayerson JCC 

Thursday, February 15th
7pm at the Kenwood Theatre

Based on true events as Denmark complies with Nazi Germany, carefree jazz guitarist Arne Itkin is confronted by the war when a raid forces his family to flee. Aided by the resistance, they set out for a small village where refugees await passage to safety, putting their fate in the hands of strangers whose motives are not always clear. See the trailer here!

Sunday’s screening is in partnership with Jewish Federation – Silver Circle Society and Create Your Jewish Legacy.

Thursday’s screening is in partnership with the Holocaust & Humanity Center.

Bye Bye Germany

Monday, February 12
7pm at the Kenwood Theatre

Frankfurt, 1946. David Bermann and his Jewish friends have survived the Nazi regime and build a booming business to fund their dream of leaving for America, wooing housewives with charm and fine linens. But questions about Bermann‘s past catch up with him, keeping US officer Sara Simon on his case. She matches his quick wit with iron severity, but can she escape his charm? See the trailer here!

Special Feature: Discussion led by Jodi Elowitz, Director of Education at Holocaust & Humanity Center.

In partnership with Cincinnati World Cinema and Holocaust & Humanity Center.

And Then She Arrived

Tuesday, February 13
7pm at Esquire Theatre

This charming romantic comedy, based on a true story, follows 30-year-old Dan Freilich, who has everything he could ever hope for and then some: the perfect job at his father’s law firm, the perfect loving family, and the perfect girlfriend. But a chance encounter with a waitress in Jerusalem makes him realize something was missing all along. See the trailer here!

In partnership with Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, with support from Cincinnati Hillel.

The Law

Sunday, February 18
3pm at the Kenwood Theatre

Inspired by true events, this drama portrays a fascinating woman, skilled politician, and resolute fighter. Simone Veil survived the Holocaust, though she lost her family. After the war, she rose in the French government, becoming Health Minister in the 1970s and carrying the then-controversial law to legalize abortion. Diane, a young journalist, makes the issue the subject of her first investigation, and becomes witness to a shift in women’s social status. See the trailer here!


Monday, February 19
7pm at the Mariemont Theatre

After years of wandering, Daniel returns to his smalltown childhood home in Israel. There, he is confronted with reminders of lost love and what could have been. The film explores the depths of what love sometimes demands of us, and how memories, both fragile and fleeting, are sometimes all that we have. See the trailer here!

Special Feature: Short film screening of Against Reinheitsgebot by Adam Souriano.

My Hero Brother

Tuesday, February 20
7pm at Kenwood Theatre

This meaningful documentary follows a group of young people with Down syndrome and their siblings, who embark on a demanding trek through the Himalayas. During their difficult journeys, their relationships are tested and strengthened. See the trailer here!

Special Feature:  Discussion led by Dr.Ryan Niemiec, Psychologist and Education Director at the VIA Institute on Character.

In partnership with the Milton and Frances Schloss Special Needs and Services Department at the JCC and Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD Inc.

Closing Night: Big Sonia

Thursday, February 22
7pm at the 20th Century

After an eviction notice threatens the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years, 91-year-old businesswoman and Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski faces the specter of retirement, prompting her to revisit her past as a refugee and witness to genocide. This poignant documentary offers a humorous portrait of love’s triumph over bigotry, and the healing power of truth-telling. See the trailer here!

Special Feature: Short film screening of Spring Chicken by Tamir Elterman.

Post-film discussion with Caroline Kennedy, cast member of the documentary, and founder and CEO of Empower: Educate & Inspire.

In partnership with AgeWell Cincinnati and Holocaust & Humanity Center.

Consider supporting the Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival. Your sponsorship ensures that high-quality filmed stories, reflecting the diversity and vitality of Jewish life, will continue to be produced, screened and enjoyed for generations to come. Your brand will be aligned with a strong festival with sold-out films across the city. The Mayerson JCC is a 501(c)3 organization and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact us.

To find out how to submit your film to our festival, please contact us.