Dear JFI Friends and Family,
As springtime approaches with its inherent sense of renewal, we know how difficult this particular Passover holiday will be as many of us find ourselves isolated from our friends and family. The ritual of the seder brings us together as we break Matzo, give thanks, celebrate our freedom and hope all will be free from bondage. Even though your seder table might be experienced virtually this year we offer you this specially curated Passover themed program to share with your guests. We are calling it Let My People Go.
Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director
Joshua Moore, Programmer
Margherita Ghetti, Next Wave Programmer
Start off your session with some Passover funk!
Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream (SFJFF36)
Just as its iconic pink box has graced the Passover seder tables of generations of American Jews, so, too, Streit’s matzo factory has stood for some 90 years on the Lower East Side. In Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream (SFJFF 2016) director Michael Levine chronicles the unique saga of the legendary company. While other matzo companies modernized, Streit’s remained a piece of living history, churning out 40 percent of the nation’s unleavened bread on pre-War machinery as old as the factory itself. In a neighborhood where the Jewish immigrants long ago moved on, in a nation where family businesses are bought out by giant corporations and workers move from job to low paying job, filmmaker Michael Levine captures the Streit’s saga which echoed the American Dream.
Seder-Masochism (SFJFF 39)
Director Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) brings her playful inventiveness to the Passover story in the brilliantly titled Seder-Masochism (SFJFF 2019). This animated musical retelling of the Book of Exodus is beautifully crafted, highly entertaining and delightfully provocative. The entire film is set to a strategically curated soundtrack that samples the best of 20th century jazz, big band, pop, folk, punk and traditional Jewish songs, amplifying both the plot and the film’s stunning visual effects. Think Fantasia meets the Old Testament, with some serious feminist criticism and questions about Jewish hegemony thrown in for good measure.
Matzah Balls: The Fifth Question (short film)
The Four Questions are part of the rich tradition of the Passover Seder, but what about the fifth question? Equal parts The Ten Commandments and Mel Brooks, the rollicking JFI Online Short Matzah Balls: The Fifth Question explores the historic origins of a classic staple of Jewish cuisine and its relationship to the holiday of Passover. Once you have seen this “true” story, you may never look at your balls the same way again.