Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival Kicks Off Spring Film Series

CineMondays will feature six Philadelphia premieres showcasing different aspects of the Jewish experience.

TK's The Kindergarten Teacher plays TK.

Nadav Lapid’s poignant The Kindergarten Teacher plays April 20th at Ritz East as part of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival’s CineMondays series.

March 23rd marks the kickoff of Gershman Y‘s Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (PJFF)’s CineMondays.PJFF director Olivia Antsis explains that the festival showcases six Philadelphia premieres that examine various aspects of the Jewish experience. “This past fall, we presented our best festival ever, with an increase in attendance, ticket sales, sponsorships,and audience ratings. … We look forward to serving the community with more exciting and thought-provoking films and programs this spring.”

Catch this year’s picks starting tonight, March 23rd and running every Monday through May 4th. Tickets are available here. We’ve got the full schedule—with IMDB descriptions when applicable—below:

March 23rd: Mr. Kaplan at the Gershman Y

Opening Night: Mr. Kaplan

Mr. Kaplan

“After fleeing Europe for Uruguay during WWII, Jacob Kaplan built a quiet life. Now 76, he begins to question his worth. After learning of a mysterious German prowling the shores of a nearby beach, he becomes convinced that he’s found a Nazi in hiding and plans to expose him. Expertly distilling a potent mixture of emotional depth and deadpan comedy, Mr. Kaplan is a vivacious meditation on family, aging, and the drive for significance.”

March 30th: The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer at the Gershman Y

“Many books, biographies and articles have been written about the life and work of Isaac Bashevis Singer. An exclusive discovery of the filmmakers brings to light a hitherto unknown chapter of his life. In the mid 1960’s Bashevis Singer established an army of female translators – more than forty women – who helped spread his work. He chose his translators carefully, was inspired by their presence, often falling in love with them. Nine of the women who were intimately familiar with the man and work are still here. Theirs will be the only voices heard in the film, as they allow us a glimpse into his complex personality and personal life.”

April 13th: Once in a Lifetime at the International House

April 13th: One In A Lifetime

Once In A Lifetime

“The fact based story of a class of schoolchildren, teenagers, in a, from the look of it, mixed ethnic district of Paris, who’s teacher decides to enter them in a competition to examine the holocaust from the point of view of its impact on young people. It contains some very emotional scenes and chronicles the change in the opinions and interactions of a typical class of adolescents.”

April 20th: The Kindergarten Teacher at the Ritz East

Nira, a kindergarten teacher, discovers that his student Yoav is a child poet prodigy in this drama written and directed by award-winning Nadav Lapid. Nira, an aspiring poet, is worried about Yoav’s gift and believes he needs proper guidance in order to not lose his talent. After finding out that Yoav’s own father wants to kill his son’s gift, Nira’s obsession takes a turn.

April 27th: Touchdown Israel at the Gershman Y 

April 27th: Touchdown Israel

Touchdown Israel

“Touchdown Israel, a feature length documentary presents the broad religious and cultural diversity that is Israel, and illustrates how sports can be both metaphor and unifier for the world around it. American football has set down real roots in the holy land. The playing levels vary widely, but the cast of characters is utterly compelling, Israeli Jews, Arabs and Christians as well as Americans living in Israel, and religious settlers. Interview subjects include league sponsor and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Touchdown Israel brings light to Israels complex, multifaceted society, offering a view of the human aspect of Israeli life, including the values of teamwork, unity, sacrifice and excellence.”

May 4th: Raise the Roof at the Gershman Y

The series concludes with the inspiring documentary about making and unveiling the Gwozdziec roof, which is the centerpiece of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The restoration of this roof leads people through a lost world that has empowered the next generation of Poles to reconnect with their Polish heritage.