Three film festivals for virtual viewing

Three film festivals for virtual viewing

Scene from A Picture of His Life
Scene from A Picture of His Life

Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, Jewish Federation of North New Jersey’s Israel Film Festival, and Teaneck International Film Festival stream this month

November is film month here in Jewish north Jersey.

There’s the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s annual Israel film festival, which streams from Wednesday, November 4 (the day after Election Day) through Monday, November 30 (eleven nights before Chanukah). Six films stream all month long; two are available only in a limited window.

A few days later, we have the chance to join the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, which opens on Friday, November 6. Most of its 14 films will stream until the festival ends on November 22, but each film also has a designated time for an online Q&A. 

Meanwhile, the Teaneck International Film Festival takes place from November 12 through November 25. Twelve films will screen, each on its own evening; viewers will have to log to watched at the designated time for what Jeremy Lentz, the festival’s director, calls “a live virtual cinematic experience.” There will be talkbacks following each film, several of which are of Jewish interest and one of which is sponsored by the Jewish Standard.

JFNNJ Israel Film Festival

Wednesday, November 4 to Monday, November 30

Get more information and buy tickets at
Tickets are $12 a household.


One of Israel’s greatest athletes captures the spirit of a nation while triumphing against the odds in this exciting biography of a basketball legend.


This fascinating profile sheds light on Golda Meir’s term as prime minister of Israel, from her surprising rise to power to her iconic international stature as “queen of the Jewish people.”

King Bibi

The remarkable and controversial story of Benjamin Netanyahu’s rise to power, reflected through four decades of public appearances that changed Israel forever.


This is the first documentary project revealing the story of the 1948-1952 Israeli transit camps in a thorough and comprehensive way, unraveling the many stories of the camp residents.

Mrs. G

The incredible story of how one woman created the world’s most famous swimsuit company.

Once Upon a Boy

A rare and intimate view of a typical family navigating the unique experience of raising a child with special needs.

Picture of His Life

A daring Israeli underwater photographer prepares for his greatest challenge yet, in this extraordinary true-life adventure.

*Wednesday, November 4, to Thursday November 5 only

Breaking Bread

Exotic cuisine and a side of politics are on the menu in this delightful and inspiring documentary. Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel is on a quest to effect social change through food. The first Muslim Arab to win Israel’s MasterChef, she founded the A-sham Food Festival in Haifa, where Arab and Jewish chefs collaborate on local dishes.

*Saturday, November 14 to Thursday, November 19 only

Like a Beating Heart

Every Rosh Hashanah, thousands of Israeli men leave their families and depart to a drab city in the center of Ukraine to spend the holiday near the grave of the great chassidic master Rebbe Nachman. This heartfelt documentary follows Yair Agmon’s journey to participate in this annual pilgrimage. But this journey, which was supposed to lift Yair’s spirits and warm his heart, takes an unexpected turn. 

Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

November 8 to November 22

Get more information and buy tickets at Tickets are $10, and give you 48 hours to watch the film on one device. A full access pass is $90. Most films have a Q&A session scheduled.


Artist Boris Schatz left an extraordinary legacy — an endless collection of his seminal works of art and two of Israel’s most important institutions, the Israel Museum and the Bezalel Art Academy. Yet how is it that no one knew about the existence of his first daughter, Angelica? Abandoned in Bulgaria with her mother, who had fallen in love with one of Shatz’s students, Angelica’s art surfaces years later in an attic in Tel Aviv. This discovery sends the film’s director—Angelica’s great grandson—on a journey to uncover the tragic relationship between Boris and Angelica.

The Art of Waiting

In this heartwarming, romantic dramedy, a happily married Israeli couple develops baby fever, putting their relationship to the test in a frenzy to get pregnant. This frank portrayal of modern pregnancy landed four Israeli Academy Award nominations, including Best Director.


Shira Haas (Unorthodox, Shtisel) stars in this emotionally powerful drama about Asia and Vika, Russian immigrants to Israel who are more like sisters than mother and daughter. In her debut film, Israeli filmmaker Ruthy Pribar candidly explores the challenges of motherhood and the power of love.


Recruited from the basketball courts of Harlem, Newark native Aulcie Perry joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in 1976.  He adopted a Hebrew name, converted to Judaism, and became an Israeli citizen. But the dark side of fame led to a stunning downfall. Aulcie shares his story of redemption, while electrifying game footage and insightful interviews complete this emotional profile of a superstar athlete who put Israel on the map.


Binge-watch all four episodes of this gripping dystopian Israeli TV series from the creators of Shtisel. Set in the present day, the film imagines an alternative reality where Israel is split into two separate entities: the secular State of Israel, whose capital is Tel Aviv, and, on the other side of a dividing wall, an ultra-Orthodox autonomy based in Jerusalem. 

Breaking Bread

Viewers can watch this film from Sunday, November 15, at noon through Wednesday, November 18, at noon, and only in New Jersey. Tickets are limited. 

Exotic cuisine and a side of politics are on the menu in this delightful and inspiring documentary. Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel is on a quest to effect social change through food. The first Muslim Arab to win Israel’s MasterChef, she founded the A-sham Food Festival in Haifa where Arab and Jewish chefs collaborate on local dishes. 


This romantic comedy, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, begins where most films of its kind end—after the wedding. Arriving at their lavish honeymoon suite on their wedding night, a surprise gift to the groom from an ex-girlfriend ignites a knock-out fight. An all-night odyssey through the streets of Jerusalem ensues in an effort to return the gift. 

Latter Day Jew

With a poignant mix of hilarity and seriousness, Latter Day Jew follows H. Alan Scott, a gay writer-comedian, cancer survivor, and former Mormon who becomes a Jew by choice. His family embraces his new spiritual path as he visits Israel and prepares for his bar mitzvah.

Mrs. G

The Gottex swimwear empire was founded by legendary designer, Holocaust survivor, and larger-than-life character Lea Gottlieb. She started the company in her tiny Tel Aviv apartment, and navigated her way to the top of the fashion world. This inspiring documentary examines her meteoric rise, her creative vision, her gorgeous fashion sense, and her complicated relationship with her daughters.

My Name is Sara

A gripping drama, My Name is Sara is based on the true story of Sara Goralnik, a 13-year-old Polish Jew who escaped to the Ukrainian countryside after her family was killed by Nazis during World War II. Taking on the identity of her Christian best friend, Sara finds refuge in a small village, working for a farmer and his young wife. She soon discovers her employers’ dark secrets, compounding fears about protecting her own greatest secret—her true identity.

Nowhere in Africa

A love story spanning two continents, Nowhere in Africa is the extraordinary true tale of a Jewish family who flees the Nazi regime in 1938 to live and work on a remote farm in Kenya. This beautiful film is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Stefanie Zweig.

The Rabbi Goes West

Rabbi Chaim Bruk and his large family left the bustle of Brooklyn for a new life in Bozeman, Montana. Founding the state’s first Chabad Center, he set out to affix a mezuzah on the doorpost of every Jewish home he can find. But his outsized personality and proselytizing tactics are openly challenged by Jewish neighbors and fellow rabbis. Spectacular Montana landscapes provide a scenic backdrop to this engaging, funny, and balanced profile of religious pioneers in the American West.

Shared Legacies: The African American-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance

The modern alliance between Blacks and Jewish Americans dates to the NAACP’s founding in 1909. Common cause was found in the turbulent 1960s civil rights era, as Jewish leaders backed Dr. Martin Luther King’s efforts in support of racial equality and harmony. This potent, inspiring story of unity, empathy, and partnership shows how freedom and equality for all can be achieved only when people come together.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit 

When her father suddenly vanishes, 9-year-old Anna must flee Berlin with her family, leaving everything behind, including her beloved pink rabbit. What follows is a courageous adventure full of fear and uncertainty, as Anna and her family move from country to country navigating the challenges of life as refugees. Oscar-winning filmmaker Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa) directs this adaptation of Judith Kerr’s autobiographical bestselling children’s novel.

Teaneck International Film Festival

November 12 to November 25

Get more information and buy tickets at Tickets are $5. Films screen at a specific date and time (which ranges from 7 to 8 p.m.). A festival pass is $35. The festival opens Thurs. Nov. 12 with the 1959 classic Black Orpheus, and includes the just-released documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble. The films of specifically Jewish interest are:

Standing Up, Falling Down

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Things are not going according to plan for Scott, a stand-up comedian begrudgingly returning to Long Island after striking out on the Los Angeles comedy scene. Wracked with doubt and facing the prospect of a soul-crushing “real” job, Scott finds an unexpected connection with Marty (Billy Crystal), a local dermatologist and charming barfly with a penchant for karaoke.


Sunday, Nov. 22, 7:00 p.m.

A documentary about Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel and her Palestinian colleagues. Meet Lea and the team as they prepare for their youngest defendant yet – Ahmad, a 13-year-old boy implicated in a knife attack on the streets of Jerusalem. 


Wednesday, Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m.

When world-famous conductor Eduard Sporck accepts the job to create an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he is quickly drawn into a tempest of sheer unsolvable problems. Will Sporck succeed and make the young people forget their hatred, at least for the three weeks until the concert? (Sponsored by the Jewish Standard.)

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