Thursday, December 7, 2023

Jewish film fest continues with Mother’s Day, Israeli independence selections

WJFF FINAL 8.9.13The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival picks back up Sunday with a special homage to moms.

The third-annual screening event kicked off May 1-4 with a host of shorts and feature-length documentaries, dramas, comedies and thrillers, including one in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. It gets back underway on Mother’s Day with the aptly themed selection, “Noodle.” The movie shows at 3 p.m. at Thalian Hall and will be followed by a buffet reception with local humorist Annie Gray.

The movie centers on 37-year-old Miri, a twice-widowed and childless Israeli flight attendant whose life is suddenly flipped upside down when she is thrust into the role of caretaker for an abandoned Chinese boy.

Showing with “Noodle” is the short subject movie, “Torah Treasures and Curious Trash: The Art of Jo Milgrom,” about an 87-year-old artist who fuses finds from Jerusalem dumpsters and religious ritual objects to create her outsider pieces.

At 7 p.m. Monday, the 12-minute “Dear God,”  a view of Jerusalem as seen through the poetic eyes of a romantic, precedes the night’s feature, “The Last Mentsch.” The German film follows Marcus Schwartz, an elderly man who has spent the years after Auschwitz hiding his Jewish heritage until he is finally compelled to reconnect with his identity.

A dessert reception will be held after the screening, and Rabbi Julie Kozlow from B’nai Israel Synagogue in Wilmington will discuss Jewish burial customs and rites.

Then at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, it’s documentary “Raise the Roof,” which captures a decade-long pursuit to recreate an 18th-century Polish synagogue destroyed during World War II. Silent Holocaust survivor testimony piece, “Vishneva, Belarus Soviet Union Poland”  and a second short, “Wandering Rabbi,” about the discoveries of a Jewish leader making his way through the rural south, will be screened ahead of the feature.

SDI Construction owner Beth Pancoe, who is also on the Historic Wilmington Foundation board, will speak during a dessert reception.

The film festival wraps up at 7 p.m. Wednesday – Israeli Independence Day – with “Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front.” The documentary follows a diverse group of five young people who have enlisted in the Israeli Army. Israel requires compulsory military service, with few exemptions, for all adults over the age of 18. “Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference,” which shows some little-known creative and innovative advances happening in the country, will be screened, as well.  A panel discussion about military life and a dessert reception will follow.

With the exception of the Mother’s Day screening, tickets to the festival showings are $11 ($8 for students and active military with ID). Sunday’s event is $17 ($11 for students and military). Click here for advance tickets or more information.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at

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