The Alaska Jewish Museum has once again sponsored an amazing film – Crescendo, a German drama directed by Dror Zahavi. It premiered at the Munich International Film Festival on July 3, 2019 where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.
When world-famous conductor Eduard Sporck (Peter Simonischek) accepts the job to create an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he is quickly drawn into a tempest of sheer unsolvable problems. Having grown up in a state of war, suppression or constant risk of terrorist attacks, the young musicians from both sides are far from able to form a team. Lined up behind the two best violinists – the emancipated
Palestinian Layla and the handsome Israeli Ron – they form two parties who deeply mistrust each other, on and off-stage alike. Will Sporck succeed and make the young people forget their hatred, at least for the three weeks until the concert? With the first glimmer of hope, however, the political opponents of the orchestra show them how strong they are.
Loosely inspired by Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Academy-Award nominated director Dror Zahavi (“Alexander Penn”, “Everything for my Father”) directs this gripping drama as a constantly growing ‘crescendo’, rising the tension and conflicts until the last frame. Lead actor Peter Simonischek (“Toni Erdmann”) stars next to a highly convincing selection of up-and-coming actors like Daniel Donskoy (“Victoria”) and Sabrina Amali (“4 Blocks”). A remarkable theatrical movie and contribution to the world-wide efforts towards understanding, humanity and peace.
Alaska Jewish Campus & Museum Donates COVID Masks to Municipality of Anchorage
Last month, in response to Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s call to the community, to come forward and help with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that Anchorage faces due to the COVID-19 crisis, members of the Alaska Community sponsored a Donate a Mask and Protect a Life Campaign.
On Tuesday, May 12th, 2020, the Alaska Jewish Campus and Museum delivered its first shipment of 3-PLY surgical masks to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. Members of the Jewish community officially presented the donated face masks to the Mayor and the Municipality of Anchorage for distribution to first responders, medical providers and to those in the community at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
The event coincided with the Jewish unity day of Lag B’omer, when Jews around the world celebrate Jewish unity and brotherhood. It is in the spirit of this day of celebration that the Campus and Museum hope to inspire fellow Alaskans with an Alaskan spirit of unity and the importance of watching out for each other.
You can watch Rabbi Greenberg of the Alaska Jewish Campus and Alaska Jewish Museum and Mayor Berkowitz in the clip below.
Refuge in the Last Frontier:
Evolution of the Alaska Development Plan
Museum Curator Leslie Fried recently presented two evenings of slides and commentary about the Alaska Jewish Museum exhibit Refuge in the Last Frontier: Evolution of the Alaska Development Plan.
The first was on May 23, 2019 as part of the Tundra Vision Program for the Mountain View Library History Series. The second, on June 18, 2019, took place at the Mat-Su Jewish Center in Wasilla.
Alaska Experience Theater: December 9th, 2018, 4:30PM
Alaska Jewish Museum and Anchorage International Film Festival present “1945”, Debut Screening in Anchorage.
On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox man and his grown son return to a village in Hungary while the villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk's son. The townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village's deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back.
Director Ferenc Török paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. A superb ensemble cast, lustrous black and white cinematography, and historically detailed art direction contribute to an eloquent drama that reiterates Thomas Wolfe’s famed sentiment: you can’t go home again.
The Alaska Experience Theater is located at:
4th Avenue Market Place
333 W 4th Ave #207
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 272-9076
Tickets Available for Purchase at the Door.
A Rose in Candle
Alaska Jewish Campus: May 15, 2018, 7pm
Please Join Us for an Exciting Preview of a New Locally-Made Film by Russ Reno and Beverly Churchill
How a young Jewish-Romanian immigrant found herself in an Alaskan mining town. 100-Year Old True Stories from the town of Candle as told by Rosa Robinson to her granddaughter, Anchorage resident Beverly Churchill.
Please email or phone to reserve a seat:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 907 279-1200
$10 / Adults $7 / Seniors, Students, Military $5 / Kids
Alaska Over Israel
Alaska Jewish Campus: Tuesday, March 6th, 7PM
Book launch and book signing of "Alaska Over Israel: Operation Magic Carpet, the men and women who made it fly and the little airline that could"
Alaska Experience Theater: Dec 3rd, 11:30 AM - 1:15 PM
A film worth freezing for! An incredible true story of bravery and solidarity.
Mini Film Fest: Featuring Ushpizin & The Golem
Ushpizin: Wed., June 22nd, 2016 at 7pm
Powerful, touching, and amusing, Ushpizin is a heartwarming and soul-stirring film from Israel. Big-hearted Moshe is down on his luck, so he and his loving wife Malli pray passionately for a miracle – with unexpected consequences. Ushpizin is about faith in, and love of, Hashem.
The Golem: Wed., June 29th, 2016 at 7pm
This restored authorized edition of the 1920 silent cabalist thriller (with subtitles), based on the ancient Hebrew legend of the golem, is widely recognized as the source of the Frankenstein myth. Suffering under the tyrannical rule of Rudolf II in 16th century Prague, a Talmudic rabbi fashions a giant warrior out of clay to protect the safety of his people. His attempt to mimic the creative power of the Divine results in dangerous consequences when his creation, the Golem, runs amok.
Suggested Donation: $5
‘Above and Beyond’ Film Screening with Producer Nancy Spielberg
Wed., Sept. 2nd, 7pm at the PAC
Alaska Jewish Museum is proud to welcome to Anchorage Producer Nancy Spielberg and for a screening of her latest film, "Above and Beyond" the first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the ’48 War. The film follows the pilots on their circuitous route from the United States – where they met and trained in secret and struggled to stay two steps ahead of the FBI – to Panama, Italy and Czechoslovakia, where they flew versions of the very Nazi planes they had tried to shoot down in World War II.
More than a retelling of the ’48 Arab-Israeli War, "Above and Beyond" examines the motivations of the foreign volunteers – both Jews and non-Jews. It mines the tensions between the Israelis and Machal soldiers. Would the foreign pilots stay in Israel after the war? Were they Americans first or Jews first? The film recounts the personal stories of the young pilots, whose experiences in Israel were life altering. And through their stories, ABOVE AND BEYOND reveals how under-equipped and isolated the Israelis were, how desperately they needed planes and pilots and how critical the actions of these young American men were for the country’s survival.
For more information please visit http://aboveandbeyondthemovie.com
Yom HaShoah | Holocaust Remembrance Day
Friday, April 24, 2015, Talkeetna Theater, JBER
Alaska Jewish Museum Curator, Leslie Fried was the guest speaker at JBER's annual Holocast Remembrance Day event. She spoke on the theme of the event "Keep the Memory Alive".
Classical Pianist Edvinas Minkstimas:
Monday, February 2, 7:30pm-9:30pm, UAA Recital Hall ARTS 150
Edvinas Minkstimas performs Songs of the Vilnius Ghetto and compositions by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911), Anatolijus Senderovas (b. 1945, Lithuanian Jewish composer), and virtuoso selections by Chopin, Liszt, Mozart, Schubert, Gershwin.
“Cultural Roots of Lithuanian and Jewish History”
Tuesday, February 3, 5:00pm-7:00pm, UAA Campus Bookstore
Guest speakers include classical Lithuanian pianist Edvinas Minkstimas, Rabbi Michael Oblath, Curtis Murphy, Leslie Fried and Svaja Worthington. Lithuanian history, music, poetry, and culture are highlighted.
Svaja Worthington: M. K. Čiurlionio (1875 - 1911) "De Profundis”
Curtis Murphy: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius, and the Jewish Community: A Brief History"
Rabbi Michael Oblath: "The Intimate Jewish Experience in Lithuania"
Edvinas Minkstimas: The need to revive and disseminate Lithuanian Jewish cultural legacy & music.
Poetry readings by Leslie Fried: “Dancing from Warsaw to Vilna in Black and White”
Svaja Worthington & Leslie Fried: Bilingual recitations of poems by Judita Vaičiūnaitė
Svaja Worthington: Joseph Brodsky’s “Lithuanian Nocturne”
These events were sponsored by the Hon. Consul from the State of Alaska to the Republic of Lithuania, Congregation Beth Sholom, Alaska Jewish Museum, UAA Campus Bookstore, UAA Music Dept., UAA History Dept., Chilkoot Charlies, and others.
Anchorage Opera and West High School present revival of Children's Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp
January 24, 2015, 7 PM, West High School Auditorium
Brundibár is a beautiful children’s story, extolling the virtues of courage and cooperation and collective action against tyranny.
First performed in 1943 by children of the Theresienstadt concentration camp under the direction of the likewise imprisoned composer, the one-act opera tells the story of a brother and sister who join forces with a sparrow, cat and dog to outwit the evil organ grinder.
I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on a collection of works of art and poetry by Jewish children who also lived in Theresienstadt, is a one-act play of love and hope, set amid the loss and anguish of life in the concentration camp. The voices of children of Theresientadt live on in these two one-act shows, touching our souls and inspiring us all to be brave and resist tyrants of all kinds, in every generation.
Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago
by Cheryl Corley
Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. The opera, written by Czech composer Hans Krása and librettist Adolf Hoffmeister, chronicles the efforts of two children, siblings Pepicek and Aninka, as they try to get milk for their sick mother. Eighty-four-year-old Ela Stein Weissberger says it's a simple story, a tale of good conquering evil, based on a fairy tale.
Weissberger, who was born in then-Czechoslovakia, was just 11 years old when she and her mother, sister, grandmother and uncle were forced to live in a Jewish ghetto created by the Nazis in the fortress town of Terezin, near Prague. Krása wrote the opera before he was sent to the camp. The composer, Weissberger remembers, created a scaled-down version of it from a piano score smuggled into the camp. "When I was really after the war finding out how many of my friends didn't survive," Weissberger says, "I always thought that this little opera died with them."
Now Weissberger travels around the world to make sure it stays alive. More than seven decades ago she auditioned and was chosen to play the role of the cat in Brundibár — one of three animals featured in the opera. The title character is the villain, an organ grinder and bully who thwarts the children's efforts to earn money so they can help their mother. "The Brundibár, in our eyes, was Hitler," Weissberger says. But Weissberger says the Nazis didn't seem to catch on: "You know, the words we were singing in Czech language. The Nazis didn't know Czech so they didn't know." As Brundibár continues to bully the town, the brother and sister almost give up — until the cat, a dog and a sparrow call on all the children in town to take him on.
Brundibár was performed 55 times in the concentration camp. Weissberger says that's the only time the Nazis allowed the cast members to take off the yellow Star of David that signified they were Jewish. "So for us it was a couple minutes of freedom," she says. "We were not marked." As the children defeat Brundibár and are able to earn money and buy milk for their sick mother, they sing in victory. The last performance at Terezin was an effort by the Nazis to deceive the International Red Cross into thinking the Germans treated the Jews living there well. "They weren't allowed to talk to us, come close to us," Weissberger says. The performance was filmed for Nazi propaganda, and Weissberger says the balcony was lined with Nazi soldiers keeping a watchful eye. "Most people remember Eichmann and Himmler, and all those big Nazis came to watch us," she says. Weissberger talked to the current cast about what it was like to perform the opera during World War II. Tess Dinerstein plays the role Weissberger did. "She gave the whole cast tips, especially the animals, on being closer and, like, more together because it's — the show is all about how the whole community stands together," Dinerstein says.
As a recent Petite Opera performance comes to an end, a siren wails and the image of a swastika appears. Each cast member takes off a piece of clothing and discards it on a growing pile while calling out the names of the 15,000 children who entered Terezin. Only about 100 survived. As the cast begins to once again sing the opera's closing song about friendship, hope and victory over a tyrant, Weissberger leaves her seat in the audience and joins them.
Clip of opera performed in the camp
Joseph Telushkin Lecture & Book Signing
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | PAC
America's premier author and lecturer on Jewish literature and culture, Joseph Telushkin, made a special appearance at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, to discuss his New York Times Bestseller, "Rebbe". The event was co-hosted by Alaska Jewish Museum & NBrnes and Noble Booksellers.
"The Jews of Yemen: Journey to Israel"
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Yefet Ozery, Executive Director for the American Society of the University of Haifa, told the story of the Jews of Yemen and his own experience as a refugee to Israel.
The Ship That Launched A Nation
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
A tribute to Captain Jack Johnson, the legendary Alaskan sailor from Kodiak who joined the Haganah effort to transport Holocaust refugees to the Land of Israel.
Matzoh Cover Workshop with Margret Hugi-Lewis
February 26 & March 5, 2014
Preparation for the annual Passover festival of liberation with Alaskan artist,
Basket Weaving Workshop with Margret Hugi-Lewis
January 15 & 22, 2014
An homage to the Yemenite Jewish craft tradition as seen in
"On the Wings of Eagles: Alaska's Contribution to Operation Magic Carpet"