JxJ Offers Smorgasbord of Jewish Cinema in the Month of May

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Presented by the Edlavitch DCJCC, JxJ is a multidisciplinary arts project that encompasses the Washington Jewish Film Festival, the Washington Jewish Music Festival, and a mix of arts programming including comedy, theater, workshops — all presented as one massive three-week experience. JxJ also offers opportunities to hear from film directors, musicans, and other artists.

JXJ opened May 8 and will run through the 26th. Below is just a small sampling of this Sunday’s diverse film offerings. Check out https://www.jxjdc.org  for the full calendar of events.

Sunday, May 19, 1:30 P.M.
Bethesda Row Cinema


Dir. Uri Barbash | 76 min

Documentary | Israel, 2018

English, Hebrew, and Yiddish with English subtitles

Avraham Sutzkever is often regarded as the greatest Yiddish writer of modern times. As long as he lived, he wouldn’t let a film about his life be made.

Now, eight years after his passing, “Black Honey” tells the story of the man who led an underground movement that saved Jewish manuscripts from the Nazis, survived WWII after Stalin sent him a private rescue plane, and testified in the Nuremberg Trials. After immigrating to Israel in 1947, he led a spirited revival of Yiddish culture, writing poetry that coursed with a sense of vibrant humanity that staved off the dark memory of the Holocaust.

Sunday, May 19, 2:20 P.M.
AFI Silver Theatre


Dir. Nina Paley | 93 min.

Animated Narrative | United States, 2018


A disco-dancing Pharaoh, a crooning Angel of Death, Moses and his chorus line of dancing rams— this isn’t your bubbe’s Passover seder.

This screening will be moderated by Brightest Young Things editor Alan Zilberman and followed by a conversation with visionary animator Nina Paley. Her irreverent musical take on the Book of Exodus reimagines the freeing of the slaves from Egypt as an eclectic mixtape of funk, rock, and Motown, featuring songs of Pat Boone and Led Zeppelin.

Sunday, May 19, 4:30 P.M.
AFI Silver Theatre


Dir. Tawfik Abu Wael | 26 min

Short | Israel, 2017

Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles


Dir. Amit Breuer | 33 min

Short | Israel, 2018

Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

In “Freedom Train,” an Arab woman rides the train to Tel Aviv and shares an encounter with an Israeli soldier, out of time and place. In “Be/Longing,” main character Amal is a Palestinian citizen of the State of Israel, a devoted mother, divorced Muslim, and Arabic teacher. The complexities and contradictions of Amal’s life unfold before the audience, offering an intimate and honest look at what it means to carry a mixed identity.

The films will be presented as part of the program “The 21%: The Lives of Arab Citizens of Israel.” Sponsored by the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues and the Edlavitch DCJCC, with lead support provided by The Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation and The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, “The 21%” is an annual in-depth exploration of the daily lives and challenges of Arab citizens of Israel.

A discussion between Amal Rihan (who plays herself in the film) and JDC Israel Tevet’s Suzan Hasan will be moderated by Ron Gerlitz, co-executive director of Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality.

Sunday, May 19, 7:30 P.M.
Bethesda Row Cinema

HASIDISTOCK (Episodes 1-3)

Dirs. Asaf GalayAvida Livny | 90 min

Documentary | Israel, 2019

Hebrew with English subtitles

Director Asaf Galay (“Hebrew Superheroes, The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer”) teamed with Avida Livny to offer a fascinating peak at the creative process of some of the top Orthodox artists working in the music industry today. Co-presented by GWU Documentary Center, the film shines a spotlight not just on the artistic output of these performers, but also on the place of music in Orthodox society, the economy of this niche market, and the status of women within it. Features Gad Elbaz, Motty Steinmetz, and Zusha.

 By Kol HaBirah Staff