The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, the second oldest Jewish film fest in the country, kicked off on Nov. 9. The festival was founded to, “educate and engage diverse Philadelphia communities, Jewish and non–Jewish alike, by presenting world–class film premieres, repertory cinema, and associated programs that are inspired by Jewish history, heritage, and values.”It will be taking place through Nov. 23.

A total of 33 films will show in Center City, University City, Old City, and suburban venues, with some even on Penn’s campus. There will also be talks with directors, producers, and film subjects such as Dani Menkin, director of Picture of His Life, and Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures. While there are a plethora of award–winning films being shown at the festival, these five stand out as must–sees.



The Passengers

Directed by Ryan S. Porush, The Passengers follows the story of two young Ethiopian Jewish men, Demoz and Gezi, as they immigrate to Israel. While, according to Israeli law, every person with a Jewish grandparent can become a citizen, equal funding is not allocated for Ethiopian Jews. The two men are tasked with representing the group of just 9,000 Jews left in their home country as they search for a community in Israel and attempt to achieve change.

Showing information: 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, at the Lightbox Film Center.


Still from The Passengers. Courtesy of Ryan S. Porush.



Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal

Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, creators of YidLife Crisis decide to return to their hometown of Montreal to learn about the city’s Jewish history through food. The comedy duo savors dishes at Montreal’s best Jewish food spots throughout this hour–long documentary.

Showing information: 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the National Museum of American Jewish History



The Keeper

The Keeper is a biographical film about Bert Trautmann, a German soldier who becomes a Goalkeeper in England. Throughout this experience he struggles to achieve acceptance from those view him as the enemy and falls in love with an Englishwoman who helps him along the way. The film, directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, tells a heartwarming story about overcoming adversity and finding hope after war.

Showing information: 7 pm on Wednesday, November 20, at Reel Cinemas Narberth 2.


Still from The Keeper. Courtesy of Menemsha Films.



Good Morning Son

Good Morning Son, directed by Sharon Bar–Ziv, is the story of a Israeli Defense Forces soldier named Ori, who is badly injured after a military operation in Gaza. As he lies in a coma, his family and friends come together to cope and hold out hope for a recovery.

Showing information: 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Landmark Theaters Ritz East.


Still from Good Morning Son. Courtesy of Go2Films.




The Mamboniks

The word “mamboniks” was used to describe Jewish and Puerto Rican dancers from New York City who loved the mambo, a dance originating in Havana. Directed by Lex Gillespie, this documentary showcases the marriage of Jewish and Latin cultures in the 1950s.

Showing information: 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the National Museum of American Jewish History.


Still from The Mamboniks. Courtesy of Lex Gillespie.



You can purchase tickets for the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival here.


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