​12th Annual MSU Jewish Studies Israeli Film Festival

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 MSU’s Jewish Studies Program is proud to announce its 12th Annual Israeli Film Festival.  The festival will take place in the B-wing of Wells Hall on Sunday April 2 and Tuesday April 4, and will include four full-length feature films. This event is free and open to the public.  It attracts hundreds of people from the MSU community and the surrounding areas each year. 

The Israeli Film Festival was launched in 2006.  One of Jewish Studies’ largest outreach events, the festival spotlights Israel's thriving film and television industry, teaches about Israeli society and culture beyond, as well as in the context of, the conflict, and promotes cultural awareness and understanding, while presenting some of Israeli society’s various faces.  True to the diversity of Israeli society, the films often include languages in addition to Hebrew (Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian, Yiddish, etc.).  All of the films have English subtitles.

Israeli films and TV series are earning high acclaim and recognition internationally. Netflix continues to acquire some of the most popular of these films and TV series, as the demand for them has been growing for many years. 

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Students are especially encouraged to attend, and will find the films relevant to today’s world for a variety of reasons.  Themes include Israeli society and history, minority groups and cultures, gender issues, relationships, etc.

Here’s the film lineup: 

SUNDAY, APRIL 2, B-122 Wells Hall

Apples from the Desert (2014)  1:45-3:50 pm. Hebrew

Rivka lives in Jerusalem with her orthodox Jewish family. Unhappy with her life, she is attracted to the secular world, and runs away with a young man to a kibbutz in the desert. Introduction/discussion: Prof. Yael Aronoff.

Arabic Movie (2015) 4:00-5:45 pm. Arabic and Hebrew

Documentary. Many Israelis are nostalgic about the old Friday afternoon ritual of watching the Arabic movie from Egypt, broadcast each week on Israeli television. This film examines the cultural and historical complexity of this phenomenon, and how it allowed some Israelis to “return” to their original homeland. Introduction/discussion: Dany & Ellen Rothfeld. Followed by catered dinner.

Dinner included for festival attendees.

Baba Joon (20156:30-8:45 pm

Israeli Academy Award (Ophir) for Best Film, 2015.  Farsi and Hebrew                                  Introduction and discussion:  Israeli Director Yuval Delshad

Yitzhak runs the turkey farm his father built after they emigrated from Iran to Israel.  When his son, Moti, turns thirteen, Yitzhak attempts to teach him the trade, but Moti has other ideas. Israel’s submission for U.S. Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


TUESDAY, APRIL 4, B-119 Wells Hall

Sand Storm (2016)7:00-9:15 pm. Arabic

Israeli Academy Award (Ophir) for Best Film, 2016

Introduction and discussion: Wafa Alkrenawi, former Fulbright Scholar at MSU.

As wedding festivities begin in a Bedouin village in Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband’s marriage to a second wife. Meanwhile her daughter, Layla, is involved with a man from her university. Jalila tries to bury the indignity of her husband and his new bride, while attempting to contain her daughter’s situation.  Layla, however, sees a new life for herself. Israel’s submission for U.S. Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jewish Studies appreciates the generous support of the College of Arts and Letters, Union Activities Board, the Film Studies Program, the Department of English, James Madison College, the Asian Studies Center, MSU Hillel Jewish Student Center, the Muslim Studies Program, the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities, the Center for Gender in a Global Context, the Department of Linguistics and Languages, the Department of History, Congregation Kehillat Israel and Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

2017 Film Selection Committee: Yael Aronoff, Yuval Benziman, Tom Bielik, Yore Kedem, Ellen Rothfeld, Ronen Steinberg, Kaila Waineo and Jerry Weiss.

Come and celebrate some of the best new Israeli films here at Michigan State.  Free admission, outstanding films, stimulating conversation, and dinner included Sunday night for attendees. What’s not to like?

For more information, contact MSU Jewish Studies: 

jsp.msu.edu, or (517) 432-3493