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Happening

Going. Doing. Indispensable resources.

“Mother Economy”

This film by Tel Aviv artist Maya Zack, born in 1976, is a meditation on Holocaust remembrance and an homage to resourceful women during violent periods of political upheaval. The protagonist might be a dedicated non-Jewish housekeeper who remained in the home long after the family’s deportation and continued to perform rituals in their absence. Or, if she is the Jewish mother of the household, she survived because of her calculated efforts to distance herself from traumatic memories. www.jewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/ mayazack

Israeli films & other Israeli films

Now showing in the U.S., at the 23rd (annual) Israel Film Festival: “Gole Sangam/The Stone Flower,” (dir. Sarit Haymian) traces the lives of two elderly Jewish women who married as young teens and came to Israel from Iran 50 years ago. “Full of Life” (dir.Tamar Ben Baruch) is a short doc about 12-year-old Roni, sent by her mother to a weight-loss camp. The festival premiered in L.A. and runs in New York October 29-November 13; in Miami, December 10-18. More films and info at israelfilmfestival.com The Other Israel Film Festival showcases productions by or about Israeli Arabs. “Lady Kul El Arab,” written and directed by Ibtisam Mara’ana, follows Angelina, the first Druze woman to break into the Israeli fashion world. “Desert Brides” (dir. Ada Ushpiz), focuses on a Negev Bedouin wedding photographer who reveals, through her camera lens, the distressing phenomenon of polygamy. Both films are part of the second year of this unusual film fest, taking place Nov 6-13 mostly at the JCC of Manhattan, otherisraelfilmfestival.org

“Collaterally Damaged”

In an autobiographical play, author and performer Laura Zam travels to Eastern Europe, tracing her mother’s real-life journey during the Holocaust. Her aim is a play that will end genocide, war, or even random acts of rudeness. “It’s a comedy,” states the playwright, who remembers hearing as a teenager, ‘What do you mean you can’t clean your room? When I was your age I was sewing buttons on Nazi uniforms!’ ” Zam, 44, has worked in the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina with teens brought together to promote post-war healing and with youth in the Middle East through Seeds for Peace. Laurazam.com

A time for mourning and a time for dancing

The reasoning behind the tradition of women not attending funerals, by Zev Farber; an appreciation of hevra kadisha by Blu Greenberg; Syrian Jewish community mourning practices, by Linda Shamah; the death of the biblical Miriam by Erica Brown; are among the richly themed articles in the summer 2008 issue of JOFA Journal from the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, which will hold its 7th international conference in New York on Saturday night and Sunday, December 19-20. jofa.org

Suite Française

You’ve heard about the manuscript— written in tiny, hurried handwriting for lack of time and paper before Irene Némirovsky was deported to Auschwitz in 1942. It contained the first two parts of her planned five-part novel. Six decades later, Suite Francaise won France’s Renaudot Prize and has been a bestseller in its English translation, as well, at the same time generating controversy over the author’s harsh and unsympathetic portrayal of Jews. (Némirovsky converted Catholicism in 1939.) Now you can see the manuscript in its entirety through an interactive computer program, plus other artifacts of the re-acclaimed author. On view from September 24, 2008 through mid-March 2009 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Manhattan mhhnyc.org

An Army of Women

Healthy women of all ages, ethnicities and levels of breast-cancer risk can be among those considered for research studies by scientiists seeking to “crack the code” of breast cancer. This call for participation is a joint project of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation. Info at 866-569-0388 or armyofwomen.org

Blessed is the Match

At 23, Hannah Senesh, joined the only outside military mission trying to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. In 1944 Senesh left Palestine and daringly parachuted into Yugoslavia to reach her native Hungary. There she was captured, then tortured and executed by the Nazis. The heroic Senesh, a poet and diarist, is known for the eponymous poem she wrote in captivity, and for another, set to music, which in English reads “God, may there be no end, to sea, to sand, water’s splash, lightning’s flash, the prayer of of a human being.” Roberta Grossman’s film “Blessed is the Match” includes recently discovered correspondence between Senesh and her mother, and interviews with the poet’s contemporaries. Blessedisthematch.org

The Lilith story

“Once a source of fear, Lilith has been transformed into an icon of freedom… As modern Jews begin to ask questions about sex, freedom and choice more directly, Lilith becomes a complex representation of our own desires, “ writes Jill Hammer in an illuminating and succinct essay that references ancient commentary as well as modern feminist interpretations by Judith Plaskow, Lynn Gottlieb, Enid Dame and Jacqueline Lapidus. myjewishlearning.com/ ideas_belief/god/Overview_About_God/ Angels/Demons/Lilith.htm

Stereotypes of Jews & others

Pop culture is full of characterizations and classifications, which by simplifying help us overcome our fear of the unknown. At the same time, they can provide us with a breeding ground for racist ideologies. The exhibition “Twisted into Recognition: Cliches of Jews and Others” which originated at the Jewish Museum Berlin, will be at the Spertus Museum in Chicago, September 26 to January 18, 2009, and at the Jewish Museum of Vienna, February 7 to June 21, 2009. Take a “stereotype” test on the website of the Berlin Museum, juedisches-museumberlin. de/typisch/stereotype_ eng.html

Where have all the young men gone?

Many boys drop out of Jewish life after bar mitzvah, despite the fact that Judaism has the potential to provide them with values and support as they navigate the journey from boyhood to adulthood. A three-year action-research campaign aims to help the Jewish community to better understand and engage pre-teen and teenage boys who drop out of Jewish life and to reverse this troubling trend by defining and promoting best practices to the Jewish community that will engage their interest; maintain their participation, and build boys’ Jewish identities. (Brought to you by the organization that hosts Rosh Hodesh It’s A Girl’s Thing.) MovingTraditions.org

A community of frum queer women

To share stories of weaving together the queer and Jewish (including secular) parts of their lives and to explore halakha, gender identity, sexual orientation and more, the group Tirtzah has started a blog. http:// tirtzah.wordpress.com/ and listserv http:// groups.googe.com/group/Tirtzah. Tirzah also holds events in New York City. Have a story to share? Write tirtzahcommunity@ gmail.com

The charitable Hebrew ladies of Victoria

Cecilia Sylvester, a pioneer member of this group, entertained society in her Fort Street home in Victoria. Hannah Director homesteaded with her family in British Columbia’s interior, played violin in the Prince Rupert symphony orchestra circa 1910 and later hosted Kitsilano’s Show Boat. The exhibit “The Ties that Bind” celebrates the Jewish community’s full participation in British Columbia history as Canada’s Westcoast province nears its 150th anniversary. At the Jewish Museum and Archives of B.C. in Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre www.jewishmuseum.ca

The Grace Paley Fellowship

Dedicated to the memory of the writer and activist who urged herself and others to “go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world,” this fellowship at Jews for Economic and Racial Justice will train a new generation of activists in grassroots organizing, Jewish history and culture and political analysis. jfrej.org

Did your mother survive the Holocaust?

Social worker Audrey Freshman, a child of survivors herself, is conducting an anonymous survey to find out how Jewish offspring of these mothers cope with stress and how future generations grow up in the aftermath of trauma. A $5 contribution to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will be made for each completed survey. surveymonkey. com/holocauststudy. Or afreshstartonline.com