Cinegogue Sessions Vol. 8 — Cross Cultural Kitchens

Jewish Film Institute
3 min readMay 21, 2020
Still image from PIZZA BAGELS

Dear JFI Friends and Family,

It’s often said that the true joy of cooking is cooking for other people. Perhaps Cesar Chavez said it best, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with them… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

In this week’s Cinegogue Sessions we present three films featuring cooks and bakers that not only offer their love and their craft, but also their own culture fused with another. It’s the mixing together of different traditions that makes fusion cooking so original, not to mention delicious. But more than just a mouthwatering meal, the food itself is an offering of harmony that reminds us that despite our differences we can all nosh together. Dig in!

Until next week.

Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director

Joshua Moore, Programmer

Margherita Ghetti, Next Wave Programmer


Still image from ABE

In Abe (JFI 2019) a twelve-year-old Brooklynite is called Abraham by his mother’s side of the family and Ibrahim by his father’s, but he prefers — you guessed it — just Abe. Young Abe (Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things) is an aspiring chef who wants his cooking to bring people together — but his half-Israeli, half-Palestinian family has never had a meal that didn’t end in a fight. Ditching his traditional summer camp, Abe begins working with Chico (Seu Jorge), an adventurous street chef who encourages him to think outside his old cuisine. But when Abe’s deceit is uncovered, he must grapple with his family, his background, and his passions, and whether even the most lovingly-cooked family dinner can heal old wounds.

Click the video for a special message from filmmaker Fernando Grostein Andrade

Click here to find streaming options for Abe through JFI On Demand!


Curmudgeonly widower Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce) clings to his way of life as a Kosher bakery shop owner in London’s East End. Understaffed, Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash (Jerome Holder), who has a secret side gig selling marijuana to help his immigrant mother make ends meet. When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice. Dough (Opening Night SFJFF 2015) is a warmhearted and humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places.

Click to play a special message from filmmaker John Goldschmidt!

Click here for streaming options through JFI On Demand!

Pizza Bagel (Online Short)

What happens when a traditional Italian father prepares a Kosher dinner for his son’s Jewish girlfriend and mother? Pizza Bagel (JFI Online Shorts) takes a comedic look at intercultural dating while poking fun at Mediterranean cuisine and unabashedly patriotic soccer celebrations.

Click to watch PIZZA BAGEL

To Tune In Next Week…

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Jewish Film Institute

The Jewish Film Institute, based in San Francisco, champions bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere.