20 minutes USA, Color Producer and Director: Mary Halawani
Filmmaker Mary Halawani profiles her grandmother, Rosette Hakim, in this illuminating documentary short. A prominent Egyptian-Jewish family, the Halawanis fled their homeland in 1959 when anti-Zionist sentiments were on the rise and hundreds of Jews were interned in detention camps for alleged pro-Communist activities. Rosette, the family matriarch, chose to remain in Egypt until every member of the large family was free to leave. She discusses the contrast between life in her native land and her new home in America. Using the Passover seder as a backdrop, Rosette (who now lives in Brooklyn) discusses life in Egypt and the contrasts between the values and textures of life there and in America.
29 minutes B&W Producer: David Goldstein Director: Baruch Gitlis
This powerful film documents the plight of Holocaust survivors between 1945 and 1948——from liberation to the creation of the State of Israel. Using archival footage, interviews, and personal accounts from diaries and letters, it examines what happened to displaced Jewish refugees determined to reach Palestine after the war. The film shows a post-war political climate that was surprisingly hostile to the Jewish refugees, who had suffered so much during the war. It also focuses on how Zionism and the hope of a Jewish homeland gave many survivors the incentive to continue living. Includes interviews with survivor Rabbi Israel Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel, as well as interviews with other survivors; two U.S. Army chaplains stationed in Europe after liberation; a member of the Bricha.
Winner of the 2007 Award at Marbella Film Festival
49 minutes English, Color Producer: The David Project and IsraTV Director Michael Grynzspan
The Forgotten Refugees explores the history and destruction of Middle Eastern Jewish communities, some of which had existed for over 2,500 years. Featuring testimony from Jews who fled Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco and Iran, the film explores the rich heritage and destruction of the Middle Eastís age-old Jewish communities. Personal stories of refugees are interspersed with dramatic archival footage, including the mission to rescue Yemenite Jews.
50 minutes English, Italian, Arabic with Subtitles Producer: Aryeh B. Bourkoff Director: Vivienne Roumani Denn Narrator: Isabella Rossellini
The film documents the final decades of a centuries-old Sephardic Jewish community through the lives of the Roumani family. The film traces the story of the Roumanis of Benghazi, Libya from Turkish Ottoman rule through the age of Mussolini and Hitler to the final destruction and dispersal of Libya's Jews in the face of Arab nationalism. Based on the recently discovered memoirs of the family's matriarch, Elise Roumani, as well as interviews in English, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic with several generations of the Roumani family and a trove of archival film and photographs, "The Last Jews of Libya" tells the story of an ancient community buffeted by Fascism and Arab nationalism and ultimately saved through the strength of its Jewish tradition and faith. .
59 minutes Israel/France, French w/ English Subtitles Producer and Director: Pierre Rehov
Rehov interviews several prominent scholars and survivors of the Arab pogroms including Bat Ye'or, the scholar who introduced the concept of "dhimmitude" (the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule) into the lexicon. They vividly elucidate the circumstances precipitating the departure of these Jews from their longtime homes.