Doors at 6:30PM, Screening at 7:00PM with Q&A to follow
Join us at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center for the screening and Q&A as part of the Stowe Jewish Film Festival 2022.
For virtual screening:Yerusalem will be available virtually July 17-20*
*The virtual screenings can be on any platform. Just copy and paste the link on your laptop, computer, smart phone, etc. Link will be sent in email 24 hours before viewing start day. Be sure to check your spam/ junk and promotions folders for the email.
The Stowe Jewish Film Festival returns for it’s 7th season in 2022!
This year’s theme: The Jewish Experience: a multiplicity of cultures, languages, countries, traditions and colors. Patterns of immigration have taken Jews all over the world, melding and merging, creating hybrid cultures and complex identities.
In Ethiopia they were given the derogatory term “Falashas” (outsiders/exiles). In the United States they were referred to as “Black Jews”. In Israel, they are simply Ethiopian Jews. They themselves would rather be called “Beta Israel” (House of Israel). Decedents of an ancient Jewish tribe, for over 2500 years they managed to uphold the laws of Judaism, all the while believing they were the last Jews on earth. The ties between Beta Israel and their fellow Jews were renewed only at the turn of the 20th century, thanks to the determination of a few individuals, and the exodus of Ethiopian Jews began.
“Yerusalem” is the story of a powerful religious yearning that has been passed down from father to son for countless generations. A desire for a “Yerusalem” tied with gold threads. A Yerusalem which became Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. These are stories of inspiring heroic actions by individuals and communities; of daring covert operations by the Mossad and IDF’s elite combat units; of a worldwide effort which called on Jewish communities everywhere to help save this Jewish tribe from extinction.
This film will bring to the screen the “homecoming” of the sons of Beta Israel. A dramatic journey filled with twisting plots and secret plans that spanned the greater part of the 20th century. It was a life-altering event of biblical proportions and another awe-inspiring chapter in Jewish and Israeli history.
It was only towards the end of the 20th century after a long and tumultuous journey that the community of Beta Israel finally arrived in Israel, the land of the Jews. The loving embrace that was extended to the newcomers quickly faded and the new immigrants were now facing difficulties from religious factions and Israeli society. The validity of their religious practices was scrutinized and questioned. Like many other immigrants from different countries during different eras, the Ethiopian Jews were asked to give up their “unique” traditions in order to blend in and be fully accepted. The struggle to adapt to a modern Israel is still very much an ongoing process. We have no doubt that “Yerusalem” has an important educational and cultural role to play in this struggle.
“Yerusalem” is a historical, epic and extensive film that incorporates investigative contents with human interest stories. Well aware of its social and educational value and the responsibility it carries, we will be meticulous about historical accuracy and rely on documented facts. We will also bring the personal stories of people who took part in these events, and through them, bring to the screen an up to date view along with its hardships and hopes.
“Yerusalem” wishes to pay the debt owed to people of stature who dedicated their lives to the Ethiopian Exodus. We will introduce significant figures such as Abba Mehari and Jacques Faitlovitch, Yona Bogale and his son Zecharia Yona, Fereda Aklum and Zimna Berhani, Baruch Tegegne and Susan Pollack and many others, activists and civilians, whose stories have never been told.
The tale of Beta Israel has many storytellers: the elders who speak the Amharic and Tigrinya languages, the youngsters who talk like native Israelis, Mossad veterans, naval commandos, Israeli Air Force pilots, Jewish organization activists, Jewish Agency envoys, researchers and others.
Despite the complex geo-political situation in Sudan, we will strive to bring up-to-date footage, through a non-Israeli filming crew, from the country that played such a dramatic role in the story of the Ethiopian Jewry’s exodus.
In addition, we will have at our disposal unique and never before seen material from the Mossad archives, depicting these covert operations. The series will also incorporate Ethiopian Television newsreels and newsreels from archives worldwide.
Special thanks to our film sponsors:
About the Stowe Jewish Film Festival: The Stowe Jewish Film Festival (SJFF), a program of the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, works with the intention of bringing community together, both internal and external. The festival is an opportunity to reach out to others in the central Vermont region to engage in community building and dialogue through cultural entertainment. We see this as important now more than ever.