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Film/Speaker Series on the Jewish Experience to Run through Nov. 18

FLICKERS, the Edwin S. Soforenko Foundation and the Helene and Bertram Bernhardt Foundation lend support to RWU departments organizing the series

From Tuesday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, Nov. 18, Roger Williams University will play host to a film and speaker series that explores representations of the Jewish experience of Israel and of the Holocaust through three recent films.

The series culminates with a talk by Professor Jeffrey Shandler of Rutgers University, who will examine how the Holocaust has been viewed on American television from the 1950s through the mid-1990s.

This series has been made possible through a partnership with FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival and is sponsored by the Edwin S. Soforenko Foundation, the Helene and Bertram Bernhardt Foundation, and the Roger Williams University Department of Communication, Hillel and Spiritual Life Program.

Each of the following events is free and open to the public, no tickets required:

Tuesday, Nov. 13: Two Short Films on the Israeli Experience

Time and Location: 6 p.m. in the Marine and Natural Science Building, Room 200

Speaker: RWU Adjunct Professor George Marshall, who is also the Executive Director of FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival

Sponsor: The Helene and Bertram Bernhardt Foundation

The Other Side (2011). A simple soccer ball sparks an unusual friendship between two young boys on either side of the Israeli and Palestinian separation wall. Can this wordless and gaze-free relationship overcome the wall's towering presence?

Beyond the Boundaries (2011). Four disabled Israeli veteran soldiers are part of a group invited to Aspen, Colo., to participate in the program Golshim L'Chaim (Ski To Live). The short film reveals how the soldiers are transformed by their experience of learning to ski. The program was started in 2008 by Rabbi Mendel Mintz of the Chabad Jewish Community Center and is supported entirely by donations from the local community.

Thursday, Nov. 15: Documentary on the Holocaust Experience

Time and Location: 6 p.m. in Global Heritage Hall, Room 01

Speakers: Adjunct Professor Rabbi Ben Lefkowitz, who is teaching a course on the Holocaust at RWU, and Rob Cohen, Director of Kinderblock 66

Sponsor: The Helene and Bertram Bernhardt Foundation

Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald (2012). This feature-length documentary tells the story of the effort to save over 900 youth and children who were imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Holocaust. The film follows four child survivors as they return to Buchenwald to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of their liberation. Additionally, the film sheds light on the efforts undertaken by the Communist-led underground in Buchenwald to save the young boys who began coming to the camp in large numbers following the liquidation of the death camps by the retreating Nazis at the end of 1944 to early 1945. A major story line of the film is about the attempt to have the block elder of barrack 66, the “children’s block” in Buchenwald, recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

Sunday, Nov. 18: Perceptions of the Holocaust Experience in American Media, "Living Room Witnesses: The Holocaust on American Television"

Time and Location: 2:30 p.m. in Global Heritage Hall, Room 01

Speaker: Jeffrey Shandler, Professor of Jewish Studies, Rutgers University

Sponsor: The Edwin S. Soforenko Foundation

Reception to follow the lecture

Professor Shandler will discuss how the Holocaust has been presented on American television, looking at examples from the early 1950s to the mid-1990s. A scholar of modern Jewish culture, Professor Shandler specializes in Yiddish culture, Holocaust remembrance, and the ethnography of contemporary Jewish life, especially in America. His work also focuses on Jewish visual culture and the roles that broadcasting, photography, film, and other media play in modern Jewish life. Among his works are Jews, God, and Videotape: Religion and Media in America (2009), Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (2005), and While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust (1999). At Rutgers, Professor Shandler teaches courses on Holocaust literature and media, American Jews and media, the ethnography of contemporary Jewish life, Yiddish literature and culture, and Jewish art.