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Authors, Films, Drama and Comedy Highlight the Orange County Jewish Arts Festival Beginning November 8 at the Merage JCC


The Merage Jewish Community is presenting an eclectic mix of thought provoking films and authors combined with humor and entertainment at the third annual Orange County Jewish Arts Festival which runs from November 8 through November 18th. All events will be held at the JCC which is located at 1 Federation Way in Irvine.

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) October 25, 2012

The Merage Jewish Community is presenting an eclectic mix of thought provoking films and authors combined with humor and entertainment at the third annual Orange County Jewish Arts Festival which runs from November 8 through November 18th. All events will be held at the JCC which is located at 1 Federation Way in Irvine.

Thursday November 8, 7 pm
Drama: Hebrew with English subtitles

The Orange County Jewish Arts Festival begins with the thought provoking film “Brothers” a drama directed by Igaal Niddam dealing with Israel's religious-secular divide .The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Rabbi Elie Spitz, Professor Scott Spitzer and Professor Steven Russo-Schindler discussing the issues dramatized.

In recent years, the Jerusalem has seen an increasing number of demonstrations from extremist elements of the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) community, protesting perceived violations of their strict interpretation of Jewish law. This is the backdrop for the film Brothers (produced by Troubadour Films, Geneva in Hebrew, with English subtitles). The film focuses on the troubled relationship between two brothers who have not seen nor spoken to each other for 25 years: the distinguished lawyer and Torah scholar Aaron, who has traveled to Jerusalem from the United States in order to defend a group of Yeshiva students who have refused military service in the IDF and his brother, Dan, an idealistic kibbutznik. A brilliant defense lawyer, Aaron finds his equal in his adversary Shelly, a driven, fiercely secular public prosecutor. The combination of an intelligent script, outstanding performances and the director's commitment to presenting the issue in all its complexity, makes for a rich and satisfying viewing experience. Tickets are $12 and available online or at the door.

“Follow Me” – The Yoni Netanyahu Story
Sunday, November 18, 5 pm Israel, 2012; Documentary
Screening followed with special appearance by Director Jonathan Gruber

Yoni Netanyahu was a complex, passionate individual thrust into defending his country in a time of war and violence. The older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Israeli Prime Minister, Yoni led the miraculous raid on Entebbe in 1976. Although almost all of the Entebbe hostages were saved, Yoni was the lone military fatality—leaving behind a grief-stricken family and nation.

On its own, Yoni's story is a dramatic one—but when told through his published and unpublished notes and letters—it rises to another level. “Follow Me” is about conflict, patriotism, war, love, family, brotherhood, sacrifice, and hope—all communicated in intimate detail through Yoni's own words. Featuring interviews with three Israeli Prime Ministers, Yoni's ex-wife (for the first time), and recently released audio from the Entebbe operation itself—–“Follow Me” brings a rare portrait of Israel's elite soldiers and their greatest hero to the big screen. Tickets are $18.

Sunday, November 11 at 3 pm, Free admission!
Anne-Marie Asner
Children's author Anne-Marie Asner will be at the Jewish Arts Festival Day for a fun-filled, interactive event including a reading of Matzah Ball Books' latest title, ”Hanukkah with Noshy Boy and Friends”. Children ages 2-7 and adults can enjoy a “time travel” activity to ancient times, and even learning a bissle (little bit) of Yiddish! In this story, Noshy Boy, with help from his Bubbe (grandma) and Zaide (grandpa), hosts a Hanukkah party filled with latkes, donuts and chocolate gelt celebrating the “tastiest holiday of the year!” Noshy Boy and his friends re-enact the story of Hanukkah as they become the Maccabees of ancient times. Much to their surprise Klutzy Boy's clumsiness actually comes in handy for winning back the Temple and the miracle of the oil is even better when Shmutzy Girl is able to actually stay clean. Other titles by author Anne-Marie Asner include Shmutzy Girl, Noshy Boy, Shluffy Girl, Kvetchy Boy, Klutzy Boy.

Tuesday November 13 at 10am:
Author Maggie Anton- “Rav Hisda's Daughter" - a novel of Love, Talmud and Sorcery
Spend an intriguing morning with author Maggie Anton and Rabbi Leah Lewis from congregation Shir Ha'Maalot exploring the fascinating world of women, Talmud, love and magic…
Hisdaduka, both beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. Her story unfolds in the 3rd century Babylonia, in the household of her father, one of a handful of beleaguered rabbis struggling to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple.
Reader fascination with all things magical in modern literature continues—from the Harry Potter novels to most recently, Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches. Modern witches may be fantastical, yet history reveals that in third-century Babylonia, in the land where the word “magic” originated, real-life enchantresses used incantations for everyday needs and desires. Novelist Maggie Anton, author of the acclaimed Rashi's Daughters series, shares a young woman's entry into this world of ancient sorcery in RAV HISDA'S DAUGHTER Book I: Apprentice
Tickets are $20 and includes light refreshments.

Friday, November 16, 10:30 am
Stanley Ginsburg
“Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking”
“You had me at Challah…” When was the last time you had an authentic, chewy bagel and not one of the bread doughnuts they sell today? Or an onion-fragrant bialy? Or a thick slice of corn rye? Or a piece of Russian coffee cake?

If you're like most people, it was longer ago than you can remember. Fact is, traditional Eastern European Jewish baking, along with the culture in which it evolved, is on its way to extinction.
Meet author Stanley Ginsburg and go on a journey inside the Jewish bakery. More than a collection of recipes, “Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking” chronicles the history and traditions--as well as the distinctive baked goods--of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe and America. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Talmud, Sholom Aleichem and the yizkor books that memorialize communities destroyed in the Holocaust, Stanley Ginsberg's engaging "edible history" that endows these recipes with a powerful sense of time and place. Inside The Jewish Bakery received the prestigious IACP Jane Grigson Award. The Jane Grigson Award is an award issued by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). It honors distinguished scholarship and depth of research in cookbooks and is named in honor of the British cookery writer Jane Grigson. Tickets are $25 and includes tastings from “Inside the Jewish Bakery”

Thursday, November 15, 7 pm - Comedy Night!
Author David Misch “Funny- the book” and the Film “Circumcise Me”
A funny film, a hilarious author- a great evening that will leave you smiling long after it is over… The evening will start with the screening of the documentary film “Circumcise me” and continue with author David Misch discussing his book “Funny- The Book”.

About the film “Circumcise Me”
Comedy; Directors: David Blumenfeld and Matthew Kalman
"Is it hot in here, or am I the only one dressed for Poland in the 17th century?" Yisrael Campbell looks more like a rabbi than a comedian, but don't be fooled by the big black hat, frock coat and Hasidic side-curls. Born Chris Campbell, the son of an ex-nun and a Catholic schoolteacher, he converted to Judaism not once, but three times - Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. His spiritual journey began as a drug-drenched teenager in Philadelphia and ended in Jerusalem among the suicide bombs of the Palestinian intifada. So what's to laugh about? It's the way he tells it. CIRCUMCISE ME is a hilarious, searching and moving story of one man's quest for spiritual enlightenment against the bewildering backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
About “Funny- the Book”
By David Misch

“Funny: The Book” may be the title and yes, it is funny. In fact, it is hilarious. It is outrageous. David Misch knows the dark side of humanity, which makes this book prescribed reading for intelligent people. It's not just about jokes and comedy routines -- it's about the hilarious absurdity of the human condition: life, death and what's in between. A wide-ranging look at the principles and practice of comedy, from its origins in pre-history to the worlds of movies, TV, prose, theater, stand-up, and jokes.

Misch's writing is superb, his humor leaves you breathless and his knowledge of history, drama, theater, and literature is shared in a most entertaining fashion. Misch is an established and award-winning writer that has worked on many prominent projects including "Mork and Mindy", "The Muppets Take Manhattan," and "Saturday Night Live" among others. “Funny” explores the evolutionary, psychological, scientific, philosophical and even theological underpinnings of humor; the author concludes that (spoiler alert!) Comedy is God.

“Funny: The Book” also features chapters on the Max brothers, Lenny Bruce, and Woody Allen , as well as a section examining the relationship between comedy and Jews – certainly the theory that all humor is based on suffering indicates a connection with the Chosen people. Tickets (Includes wine & desserts) are $25.

New this year is a Jewish Arts Festival Day on Sunday November 11 from 12 to 4 pm. The event is free and open to the community. Yael Brudner, J's Cultural Arts Director announced, “We want everyone to join us as we celebrate Jewish art, music and literature. “ The event will feature live music with performances by Cantor Shikler and friends, entertainment and performances by the JCC's Community Theatre JStage and JStars, and a special children's book reading with Anne- Marie Asner, author of “Hanukkah with Noshy Boy and Friends. An artists' bazaar with handmade jewelry, paintings and decorative objects, and of course delicious sweet and savory kosher treats to enjoy will round out the afternoon.

All events will be held at the Merage Jewish Community Center, 1 Federation Way in Irvine. The Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County offers a wide variety of cultural arts programs: art, film, music and author events; youth theatre, off Broadway shows, guest speakers and much more! The mission of the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County is to enrich our Jewish identities and create a vibrant community through excellent programs and services rooted in shared values and traditions. For more information go to or call Yael Brudner, Cultural Arts Director at 949-435-3400, ext. 305.

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