The First Estate: January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn Israel Film Festival Also Features Producer’s Q&A

By Francesca Norsen Tate


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Kane Street Synagogue’s popular and fast-selling Brooklyn Israel Film Festival, now in its 8th year, is presented during the last weekend of January. This popular festival is a major venue for some of the newest and best films coming out of Israel today, and attracts hundreds of Israeli film fans from across the Tri-State area. The 2012 festival again features three nights of award-winning, thought-provoking films plus discussions with film experts. 


This year’s festival will screen the internationally acclaimed feature, The Debt, the family drama, Restoration, and the poignant documentary, Dolphin Boy.


The opening film, The Debt, (Thursday, January 26, 8 p.m.) is the original fast-paced thriller that inspired the 2011 English remake starring Helen Mirren.  In 1964 Berlin, three Mossad agents capture and kill the infamous “Surgeon of Birkenau” and return to Israel as heroes. More than 30 years later, when evidence surfaces that he’s still alive, Rachel Brener (renowned actress Gila Almagor) must return to Europe to settle her debt to society and herself.  An opening night reception follows the screening. 


The festival resumes after the close of Shabbat, on Saturday, January 28 (8 p.m.) with Restoration.  The plot of this beautifully filmed, intimate drama: 70-year-old Yaakov Fidelman (starring Sasson Gabai, The Band’s Visit) hangs on with all his might to the antique restoration workshop which has been his life’s work. After his long-time business partner passes away, Fidelman rejects his son Noah’s idea to close the business and build an apartment complex on the site. He believes that with the help of his new apprentice, Anton, he’ll find a way to save his workshop, his world and his solitary way of life. The winner of Best Feature Film in the 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival and the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at Sundance, Restoration unravels the past and present with quiet emotional power.


Dolphin Boy (Sunday, January 29 7 p.m.) unfolds the story of an Israeli Arab teen traumatized after a violent attack by his peers. He doesn’t respond to convention treatment, so as a last resort before hospitalization in a mental institution, his devoted father takes him to be treated with dolphin therapy in Eilat. This documentary about the devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul, and about the healing powers of nature and of love, was filmed over the course of four years. 


As part of the Dolphin Boy presentation, Writer/Director/Co-Producer Dani Menkin and Co-Producer Judith Manassen-Ramon will join attendees for a Q & A. Dani Menkin spoke previously at the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival about his documentary 39 Pounds of Love. Manassen-Ramon has developed a method which uses film as a tool to aid self-expression and problem-solving for adolescents. Dolphin Boy won the Jury Mention Award at the 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival. 


Tickets can be purchased via the Kane Street Synagogue’s website while they are still in supply: visit http:// Tickets are $12 per film or $30 for the entire series of three films and can be purchased at or at the door.  For more information about the festival, go to, and Twitter @BrooklynIFF.


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Award-winning Journalist Has Wide Experience in Middle East


Congregation Mount Sinai hosts a brunch at which National news correspondent NJ Burkett will discuss the Middle East NJ Burkett joined the Eyewitness News Team in 1989. His distinctive storytelling, production skills and award-winning foreign reporting have added a unique dimension to WABC-TV’s coverage of metropolitan New York. Over his 25-year career, he has reported on everything from war and diplomacy to crime and politics; from aviation disasters to natural disasters, race relations and police misconduct. 


On September 11, 2001, NJ Burkett and WABC-TV photographer Marty Glembotzky narrowly escaped the collapse of the South Tower. Their work was later seen on television news broadcasts across the nation and around the world and is on permanent exhibit in the Newseum in Washington, D.C. 
NJ Burkett Photo courtesy of Congregation Mount Sinai


Burkett spent nearly three months covering the war in Iraq in 2003, and the military build-up that preceded it. He covered the terrorist bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), as well as the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon (2006), and the war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas (2009). He also covered the last three Israeli elections and the death of Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, witnessed the historic Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (2005) and chronicled the Palestinian popular uprising, known as the Intifada, in a series of overseas assignments from 2000-2004. 


He shared the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award with his colleagues at ABC News for his reporting on the September 11t terrorist attacks. N.J. is a member of the New York Press Club and the Inner Circle. 


He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s in International Affairs, both from Columbia University. 


The brunch portion of this event begins at 11 a.m. NJ Burkett’s talk begins at 11:30.  RSVP is a must by Wednesday, January 25. Call or email the synagogue office: 718-875-9124/info@congregation Members: $15 on-Members $18


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Candelemas Celebrated With Choral Evensong


The sixth of ten Choral Evensongs planned for this season at Christ Church-Cobble Hill, will mark the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Taking place in what 19th-century poet Christina Rossetti called “the Bleak Midwinter,” the service will be held on Sunday, January 29 at 4 p.m., and titled “Lighten Our Darkness.” Singing the liturgy will be The Cobble Hill Consort, made up of the Christ Church Choir and the Canoni Chorale, under the direction of the Christ Church Music Director, Donald Barnum, Jr.

The music will include the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G by Charles Villiers Stanford, “We Wait for Thy Loving kindness, O God” by Sir William McKie, “When to the Temple Mary Went” by Johannes Eccard and Responses by Humphrey Clucas.


The service, which lasts about an hour, will include the traditional Blessing of Candles, when a new set of liquid candles given in memory of longtime Christ Church parishioner Norman Fox will be dedicated.


Candlemas, which falls during the Epiphany season, is (along with Christmas) the Christian response to dispelling the darkness of “the bleak midwinter.”  The Very Rev. Ronald T. Lau, rector of Christ Church and dean of St. Mark’s Deanery, explains that Candlemas falls on 2 February; but many Episcopal and Anglican churches will celebrate the event on Sunday, January 29. “Not that Candlemas is just an Anglican event—the secular calendar marks the mid-point of winter as Ground Hog Day; a time when you can start counting down the days to the end of winter in earnest.


“In the Christian faith, Candlemas marks an event which took place very early in Jesus’ life. As Jewish tradition dictated that every first-born male should be taken to the temple to be “dedicated to the Lord”, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to observe this law.


“According to the Gospel of Luke, they also sacrificed a ‘pair of doves or two young pigeons’ while ‘presenting’ Jesus in the temple. It was there that they met a devout old man named Simeon who had been promised he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s promised Messiah.


Simeon also described Jesus ‘a light to reveal your will to the Gentiles’ – words which echoed out around the temple and gave birth to the tradition of lighting candles to ensure that this happy event will never be forgotten. Candlemas is also a time when all the Church’s candles – vital objects in ceremonies and rituals – are blessed.”

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