I’m not the type who believes that groundhogs make good meteorologists. Instead, I’m counting on my own observation that rising temperatures and no snow in the forecast mean spring is around the corner because, among other things, at Federation, spring means Good Deeds Day and the Israel Culture and Film Festival. Good Deeds Day is a fabulous one-day volunteer shindig which makes a positive difference in the lives of many. The Festival is a series of incredible films, coming to us from Israel, that, typically, you’re not going to see except during the Festival.
The idea to do Good Deeds Day came from the Arison Group and Ruach Tova, which encourage volunteerism in Israel and the world over. Last year’s was our first Good Deeds Day. During the one-day food drive, we collected approximately two tons of food that was distributed to seven food banks in Bergen and Passaic counties. Deciding to repeat this massively successful, highly rewarding feel-good food drive was a no-brainer. 2013 Good Deeds Day is scheduled for next Sunday, March 10 from 2-4 pm here at Federation. You can sign up to help sort...and oh, by the way, bring unopened, unexpired, non-glass foodstuff with you. Dozens have already signed up but don’t worry. There’s room for you.
Tomorrow night we begin two full weeks of great Israeli films, including a 2012 Oscar nominated film, “Footnote,” and one that was short-listed this year, “Fill the Void.” The films are being shown at locations around the area. You can choose from one of the above, plus one about memories of 1930s Germany uncovered in Tel Aviv (“The Flat”), one about a team of teachers who refuse to give up on their students even though their students have given up on themselves (“The Last Chance High”), about an Arab-Israeli boy who wants to join the IDF (“Ameer Got His Gun”), and a journey of discovery through the magic of music (“Ballad of the Weeping Spring”). A real coup this year...”Arab Labor,” the wildly popular Israeli sitcom that is sometimes uncomfortable - for both Arab and Jewish Israelis - but always funny, will be shown on Saturday night, March 16 at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. Writer and creator, Sayed Kashua, will be our guest speaker. My recommendation? If you want to see “Arab Labor,” you need to get your tickets soon. It will sell out. Call Aya 201-408-1427 for tickets.
Good Deeds Day and the Film Festival: two completely different offerings from Jewish Federation. We do them because we want to promote an understanding of what life is like in Israel as much as we’re into making sure people don’t fall through holes in the safety net. I hope you take part in both.
Jason M. Shames
Chief Executive Officer
PS: Make sure you catch Federation’s Partnership 2Gether traveling international art show “People: a Common Thread” - it’s part of the Festival but stands alone. See it either at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades (March 3-13) or at the Belskie Museum of Art and Science (March 17-April 3).