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2017 International Film Festival Presents SECRETS OF WAR / JOE'S VIOLIN (short) on Wednesday, June 14, 7:00pm

Wednesday, June 14, 7:00pm / $10 @ Olin Science Center, Connecticut College,       Belgium, Dutch (with English subtitles), 96 minutes, 2014

Summer 1943. Tuur and Lambert are best friends. The surrounding of their idyllic village has no secrets for the teenagers. From the farm of Lamberts dad to the marl caves in the woods - it's their world. But the war is closing in and is about to change their lives forever. Tuur's dad joined the resistance and even his big brother seems to be a part of it. Lambert's family on the other hand choose to obey the Germans. Then a new girl from the city shows up, befriending the boys but telling her secret to only one of them. A choice that separates the boys and ultimately gets her in trouble. Tuur not only risks losing his friendship with Lambert, but even his whole family. He will have to stop at nothing to safeguard both.

Director Dennis Bots and a talented child cast approach the sensitive subject matter from a delicate point of view suitable for young audiences. A bittersweet ode to innocence lost, SECRETS OF WAR is adapted from the best-selling young adult novel by Jacques Vriens.

Note: Recommended for ages 10 and older.

For more information, click HERE to reach the IFF web site. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

JOE'S VIOLIN (short film)

Wednesday, June 14, 7:00pm @ Olin Science Center, Connecticut College
USA, English, 24 minutes, 2016

2017 ACADEMY AWARD® Nominee for Documentary Short Subject

In the award-winning short documentary film Joe's Violin, a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez, showing how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times and how a small act can have a great impact.

Jerry Fischer's "Harvesting Stones" - Thursday, May 25 on CPTV at 8:00pm [Encore viewing on Monday, May 29 at 10:00pm on CPTV]

It's the 1890s. Connecticut Yankees are selling their rocky farms, Jews are fleeing Czarist Russia, and a Jewish back-to-the-land movement sees turning shtetl refugees into farmers as the best way for them become productive, self-sufficient Americans. Add some funding from the German-Jewish philanthropist 
Baron Maurice de Hirsch and you have the recipe for a Jewish agricultural revival that ultimately settled a thou
sand Jewish families in rural Connecticut. Using historic footage, home movies and Yiddish-language farm journals as well as testimony from participants, including survivors of Russian pogroms and the Holocaust, this ground-breaking documentary presents the fascinating but unknown story of the American Jewish pioneers who established farms and mini-agricultural resorts in eastern Connecticut. Filmed over a period of 14 years by Jerry Fischer, director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut; narrated by Peninnah Manchester Schram; music by Bruce Zimmerman.

Full Transcript: Trump Talks Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Peace in Major Address at Israeli Museum

On the second and final day of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the audience at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Haaretz May 23, 2017 4:26 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during a visit to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017. CREDIT: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Full transcript of U.S. President Donald Trump's last major address in Israel, where he discussed Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace and the U.S.-Israeli alliance:

Thank you, Prime Minister Netanyahu. I want to thank you and Sara for hosting us for what has been an unforgettable visit to this very special land. I also want to thank Chairman Itzik Molko, Acting Director Ayellet Shilloh-Tamir, and Chief Operating Officer Dalia Lazar, for hosting us today in this incredible museum. And thank you, Ambassador and Mrs. Friedman for joining us, along with a number of very good friends who have come from our country to yours as we reaffirm the unshakable bond between the United States and Israel.

Click HERE to read the rest of Trump's speech or click on the YouTube video below to watch it.

For the full line-up of the 2017 International Film Festival (IFF) movies, please click HERE to head to the IFF web site.

JFEC heads to Israel for another Mission led by Jerry Fischer 

This year's missionaries prior to boarding at Logan Airport; next stop Israel! 

From l-r and front-back: Alice and Barry Sheriff; Safra and Izzy Katz; Gayle and Stan Solinsky; Lori and Sonny Katz (from MN, Lori is Gayle's cousin); Jerry Fischer, JFEC Executive Director and Mission Leader; Nadine and Mark Lipman) 

How to remember, how to atone, how to forgive

Holocaust survivor Henny Simon z"l visits the Memorial Museum that was once the Jewish Landscape and Gardening School in Ahem, just outside of Hannover, Germany. Her father, Ludwig Rosenbaum, painted those walls. During the war, the Nazis converted it for use by the Gestapo. The museum recalls the history of the building. (Courtesy of Jerome E. Fischer)

Published in THE DAY January 08. 2017 12:01AM 

by Jerome E. Fischer

Are there sins so grievous that atonement is unattainable? Are there wounds so deep that forgiveness is impossible.

Given the realities of the Holocaust, I would have answered “yes” to both questions. That changed after I recently accompanied 91-year-old Henny Simon to Hannover, Germany.

The occasion was the 75th anniversary of the roundup and expulsion of the Jews of Hannover to a ghetto in Riga. The Nazis would later take many of them into the forest, line them up, shoot them and bury them in the pit they fell into, dug for that purpose.

Ludwig and Jenny Rosenbaum were Henny’s parents. Ludwig had fought for Germany in World War I and received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, for his meritorious service. After the war, he returned to Hannover, went to school and became a master painter, qualified to train apprentices.

In 1933, the Nazis came to power. In 1935, Ludwig and Jenny’s only daughter, Henny, an athlete and scholar, was excluded from public school. On March 12, 1940, after refusing for years to believe that Germany would turn on its Jewish citizens, Ludwig received a passport and visa for Shanghai, China. On April 8, 1940, he left by way of Italy.

On Dec. 4, 1941, Jenny Rosenbaum and Henny received passports and visas to join him in Shanghai. On Dec. 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. German officials cancelled all exit visas, trapping the mother and daughter.

On Dec. 15, they were among the thousand and one Jews who the Nazis rounded up, took to the small train station of Fischerhof, and transported to the ghetto in Riga. Among those murdered in the forest outside of Riga was Henny’s mother. Henny, by wits, luck, and help from friends Ursala Tasse and Margie “Putti” Israel, survived the war.

She returned to a Hannover destroyed by Allied bombing. Learning her father had reached America, she decided, after first considering Palestine, to come to America with her husband and new son and reunite with her father.

Click HERE to finish reading Jerome Fischer's recount of Henny Simon's trip to Hannover, Germany.

Holocaust Survivor, Henny Simon, 91, to Speak of Ordeal in Germany

Holocaust survivor Henny Simon of Colchester talks at her home Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, about her experiences during World War II being expelled by the Nazis from Hanover, Germany, and her hopes for her return trip to Hanover to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the expulsion. A photo album of Simon's that was saved by an aunt lies open with a photo of Simon as a teenager. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Taken from THE DAY; click here to read the rest of Henny Simon's story.

Lady of Gaga, Ya'ara Moses, Guest Artist at Connecticut College

Ya'ara Moses, a teacher of the Israeli dance form Gaga, is a guest artist in the College's Dance Department this semester. Ya'ara Moses, a teacher of the Israeli dance form Gaga, is a guest artist in the College's Dance Department this semester.

When you ask Ya’ara Moses what the Israeli dance form Gaga is, she puts on her hardhat.

“I like to think of it as a toolbox,” said Moses. “It’s a set of tools that you offer to a dancer and they bring out what they find.”

Then she changes her mind with a laugh. “Gaga is actually everything; it can be so many things.”

Gaga is what you make of it and what you feel in the moment, explains Moses, a world-renowned Gaga instructor. She is a guest artist in the Dance Department at Connecticut College this semester, an opportunity made possible by the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program. The program, an initiative through the Washington D.C.-based Israel Institute, brings Israeli artists for residencies at top colleges and universities in the United States.

The dancer from Tel Aviv is now a leading teacher of Gaga, a dance form she learned with the Batsheva Dance Company under the tutelage of artistic director—and Gaga inventor—Ohad Naharin. At the College, she is teaching a Gaga class three times a week and also training students to perform a well-known dance by Naharin to the Hebrew song, “Echad Mi Yodea,” for the Dance Department’s concert, Dec. 9-10.

Like many dancers, Moses started out at a young age with ballet and modern forms of dance. By 18, she was introduced to Gaga and “fell in love,” she said, and began to train at Batsheva. She was drawn to Gaga because there were no mirrors, which she said “make the world two-dimensional.”

“With a mirror, you move like how you look and not how you feel,” Moses said. “Gaga really opens up your heart. It connects you to your true passion from the inside.”

More about feeling than precision, it’s considered “a movement language” rather than a dance; a way of expressing yourself. Unlike ballet where all of the dancers are working in sync, each dancer is performing the same move but in a different way. It can be as noticeable as the quickness of a move or as subtle as the expression on a face.

“You see people for who they are. You’re not seeing robots,” Moses said.

Teaching Gaga to dancers who are trained in classic and modern dance forms, Moses said, is challenging. She encourages her students to “be soft and let go;” to initiate movement through emotion. She wants to “reach into their guts”—figuratively, of course—to help them find what’s inside.

“I want them to know they don’t have to be correct,” she said. “It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to laugh at yourself and look ugly and feel something different. Connect to your instincts and be the animal you really are.”

This type of pedagogical approach has impressed David Dorfman ’81, dance professor and chair of the Dance Department, a renowned performer and instructor himself. Dorfman was the one who invited Moses to come to Connecticut College and has already seen her magnetism draw in students.

“Her manner of being overall is one of gentle generosity with moments of ferocity that are absolutely exquisite, especially when teaching Gaga,” said Dorfman, who has joined Moses’ classes to learn the dance form. “Ya’ara is an unbelievable role model for our students. She absolutely loves what she does and spreads that love to everyone.”

Moses’ reconstruction of “Echad Mi Yodea” will be highlighting the College’s Dance Department Concert on Dec. 9-10 in Palmer Auditorium.

Delegates from Connecticut College Hillel with Jerry Fischer at 2016 General Assembly

Delegates from Connecticut College Hillel participate in the 2016 General Assembly with Jerry Fischer. To read more about the experience, please click here.

Tal and Guy, 2016-17 Young Israeli Emissaries 

Tal and Guy, this year's Young Israeli emissaries, arrived on August 31 to Eastern CT. To read their updates, please click here