Jewish Film Festival

The Schenectady Jewish Film Festival reviews hundreds of films with Jewish themes from around the world in order to bring the best movies for your enjoyment.  All the movies that we show at the Schenectady JCC are award winners. 


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The Women's Balcony 

Opening Day

Sunday, October 8, 4:00 PM (Film Only) and 7:15 PM with

Discussion led by: La Rabinessa Liora Kelman, Rabbi Linda Motzkin, and Rabbi Eleanor Pearlman

Israel, 2016, 96 min., Hebrew w/subtitles

A close-knit community is plunged into conflict after the women’s balcony in the synagogue collapses. A new rabbi arrives, promising to rebuild the synagogue. When his fundamentalist agenda begins to impose ultra-orthodox practices on the women, a showdown begins between the men, who are swayed by him,   and their wives.  Evelin Hagoel (GettA Matter of Size) leads an all-star cast in a feel-good tale about a community struggling to balance religious protocol with progressive values. With rich characters and a thoughtful approach to timely themes, “The Women's Balcony” tackles complicated subjects with intelligence, compassion, and wit. Nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor Avraham Aviv Alush and Actress  Orna Banai.  Directed by Emil Ben-Shimon.




Keep Quiet


Saturday, October 28, 7:15 PM with Discussion led by: 

Longtime community activist James Murphy

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

United Kingdom & Hungary, 2016, 97 min., Hungarian w/subtitles

Founder of Jobbik, Hungary’s extreme right-wing party, Csanad Szegedi was known for his outspoken anti-Semitic views. In 2012, he discovers that his maternal grandmother is a Jewish  Auschwitz survivor, and is dismissed from Jobbik. Seeking redemption, he enlists the help of Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, head of the Orthodox community in Budapest. “Keep Quiet”  follows Szegedi through this three-year process and leaves us wondering if Szegedi had a remarkable transformation, or just nowhere else to turn. Directed by 

Sam Blair and Joe Martin.  Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. 





Fanny's Journey

True Life Drama

Fanny’s Journey

Saturday, November 11, 7:15 PM with Discussion led by: 

Professor Stephen Berk

Sunday, November 12, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

Co-sponsored with Schenectady Post 106, Jewish War Veterans  of the United States

Belgium & France, 2016, 94 min., French w/subtitles

Based on a true story, this incredible tale of bravery, strength, and victory of a daring young girl who will stop at nothing, and fears no one. In 1943, 13-year old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children. When the Nazis arrived in Italy, their loving caretakers desperately organized the departure of the children to Switzerland. Suddenly left on their own, these eight children understand they must do the impossible to reach the Swiss border and freedom.  Directed by  Lola Doillon. Winner of  Audience awards at various film festivals.




The Pickle Recipe

A salty comedy

The Pickle Recipe

Saturday, December 30, 7:15 PM with Discussion led by: 

Antonia Lauria, who will share memories of her father,  Tony and life at Gershons’s, a Union Street tradition for more than 60 years.

Sunday, December 31, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

United States, 2016, 97 min., English

Rose’s closely guarded pickle recipe has kept Irv’s Deli a   popular eatery for decades. And now her grandson, Joey, schemes to get the secret recipe and make a few much-needed bucks as his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah approaches. Featuring a stellar ensemble of character actors: Lynn Cohen plays matriarch Rose and guardian of the family secret; Toronto comic Jon Dore is Joey; and hapless David Paymer is Uncle Morty, whose conniving plants the seed for Joey’s plot. Directed by  Michael Manasseri. Nominated for Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema, Santa Barbara International Film Festival.






MLK Day Special

Saturday, January 13, 7:15 PM with Discussion led by: 

Angelicia Morris, Executive Director

Schenectady County Human Rights Commission

Sunday, January 14, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

Co-sponsored with Hadassah Capital District

United States, 2015, 100 min., English

Julius Rosenwald, son of an immigrant peddler, who never finished high school,  rose to become the President of Sears. He joined forces with African American communities to build 5,300 schools, providing 660,000 black children with access to education in the segregated American South. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of Tzedakah (charity) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America's most effective philanthropists.  Among those interviewed are civil rights leaders Julian Bond, Ben Jealous, and Congressman John Lewis, columnists Eugene Robinson and Clarence Page, reporter Cokie Roberts, Rabbi David Saperstein, writer Maya Angelou and director George C. Wolfe





Romantic Comedy

Saturday, February 17, 7:15 PM  with Discussion led by: 

Patricia B. Snyder

Sunday, February 18, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

Netherlands, 2016, 92 min., Dutch w/subtitles

This charming Dutch comedy is about love, family and chasing dreams. Twenty-something Moos has dedicated her life to taking care of her widowed father but decides to follow her dreams by auditioning for drama school. After a  devastating audition, she takes a job at the school’s cafeteria, pretending to her family that she is attending classes. Life gets complicated as Moos finds herself caught between her best friend from Israel, a flirty singing teacher, and her meddling family. Suffused with warmth and brimming with beguiling characters, director Job            Gosschalk’s heartwarming charmer portrays a heroine’s quest to find her own uniquely beautiful voice.




Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown


Saturday, March 10, 7:15 PM with Discussion led by: 

Gordon N. Zuckerman

Sunday, March 11, 2:00 PM (Film Only)

Unites States, 2016, 61 min., English

Since his early days, Jerry Lewis had the masses laughing with his visual gags, pantomime sketches and slapstick humor. Lewis became a filmmaker as well, emerging as a driving force in           Hollywood – directing, writing, producing and acting in his movies.  He broke boundaries with his technical innovations, unique voice, and keen visual eye. His film work garnered respect and praise overseas. American critics and the cultural elite tended to reject his abrasive art, but Lewis was embraced later in life for  his philanthropic accomplishments in the U.S.  Through archival footage and interviews with friends and colleagues (including    Martin Scorsese, Tony Lewis, and Sean Hayes) as well as with Lewis himself, the film takes a fascinating look at Lewis’ decades-long   career. Directed by Gregory Monro.






The Tenth Man (EL REY DEL ONCE)

Sunday, April 15, 4:30 PM (Film Only) and 7:15 PM with

Discussion led by Dr. Jeffry Luria

Argentina, 2016, 82 min., Spanish w/subtitles

After years away, the sweetly bumbling bachelor, Ariel, is summoned back to his childhood home in Buenos Aires, to a    bustling Jewish quarter known as El Once. His father looms as a larger-than-life figure in the close-knit community, administering to the poor through an ad hoc charity. Upon his arrival, Ariel is tasked with hectic preparations for the Purim holiday, receiving via cell phone a never-ending list of errands from his respected elder, heard but never seen. With a beautiful unmarried orthodox woman, Eva, serving as his guide, Ariel rediscovers the neighborhood customs and friendships he once spurned, and in doing so, a path to self-acceptance and familial reconciliation.

Argentine auteur Daniel Burman continues his celebrated career as a storyteller specializing in Jewish themes that are rich in character and observation.  Awards include Tribeca Film Festival nominee for Best International Narrative Feature and Jury Award winner for Best Actor Alan Sabbagh.



Please note: The films and dates may change until the end of the summer.

For questions, please contact Judy Ben-Ami at 377-8803 or



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