By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Festival Showcases Thought-Provoking Films About Israeli Life and Culture
Brooklyn Israel Film Festival, Now in its 13th Year
The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue is marking its 13th year presenting the best of new Israeli cinema. The festival features three nights of thought-provoking films. The 2017 films, which reveal diverse facets of Israeli life, include a powerful documentary about undocumented teenagers (Thursday), three episodes of an acclaimed TV series about an Arab-Israeli TV writer (Saturday), and a moving feature film about love and faith (Sunday).
The 2016 festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. with “Freedom Runners,” a powerful documentary about a charismatic and dedicated teacher who creates a running group for his students, young African refugees who live in Israel without any legal status. For these talented runners, this activity becomes a way to find their place in Israeli society. After the film, Rotem Ilan, advocate and founder of the NGO Israeli Children, will speak and take questions via Skype. The opening night reception is sponsored by Pride Caterers at 7:15 p.m.
The festival skips a night in observance of the Sabbath, and resumes on Saturday night, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m., with “The Writer,” a TV series about a successful TV writer who feels trapped by his own accomplishments and his ability to move between two cultures. Acclaimed Arab-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua blurs the line between fiction and reality, exploring the personal and political costs of success through his fictional alter-ego.
The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival concludes on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. with “Vice Versa,” a feature about a terminally ill young woman who refuses treatment and the yeshiva student enlisted to help change her mind. The two embark on an unexpected relationship that will change both of their lives, transcending the rules of religion, society and faith.
Tickets are $16 for each night or $36 for the full series of three films. Online ticketing is now open; tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information about the festival, go to kanestreet.org/biff2017 or facebook.com/brooklynIFF.
* * *
The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will serve as a direct line to City Hall, connecting local and citywide coalitions of leaders to services that increase equity and inspire civic engagement throughout our neighborhoods. Also making the announcement for Brooklynites was Pastor Gilford Monrose, director of Borough President Eric Adams’ Office of Faith-Based and Clergy Initiatives.
* * *
Guest Editorial: ‘The Good Response to Evil’
By The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas
Rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Park Slope
Editor’s Note: The Brooklyn Heights Press’ religion editor invited Fr. Paulikas to contribute an op-ed based on his talk on “The Good Response to Evil.” It is particularly timely in a week when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is celebrated and Donald J. Trump prepares to be inaugurated as 45th President of the United States. Fr. Paulikas’ doctoral research at the University of Oxford focuses on evil in the work of Paul Ricoeur.
Some 125 people gathered recently at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Park Slope to share food and fellowship and to learn about the spirituality of non-violent resistance. The solid turnout on a dark and cold evening was evidence of the deep longing in our community to meet one another in a constructive way during this disturbing season in our country’s history. The event was sponsored by the Episcopal parishes of west and south Brooklyn, but attendees included people of a variety of faiths—or none at all.
Your neighborhood Episcopal parishes were motivated to act by the profound need so many of us have to find a sense of moral orientation as we prepare for President-elect Trump to take office. In the context of both my pastoral ministry and personal encounters, I have witnessed anger, confusion, grief, and despair of a scale that is, for me, unprecedented. It is important to remember that in addition to being painful, such moral and intellectual disarray is easily manipulated by the forces many of us wish to resist. We organized this event as a resource of empowerment for all members of our community at a time when we are in great need of mutual support.
I had the honor of speaking at this event, and I chose as our topic “The Good Response to Evil: Envisioning a Way Forward after the Election.” Video and a transcript of the talk can be found here. I believe the key to an effective response to the election is to focus on evil deeds, not the individuals or groups behind the deeds we object to. It can be tempting to want to target the person or the party we predict will cause harm in the world, but this approach is as ineffective as it is dangerous. All of the great movements of non-violent resistance sought to heal the effects of evil in the world rather than attack someone in particular. From Gandhi to King to Mandela and Tutu, leaders in these movements were successful because they knew that the individuals in power come and go, so they focused their precious resources on permanent systemic change instead.
We believe this is sacred knowledge. Movements of non-violent resistance have all been spiritual movements headed by spiritual leaders. I am convinced that the future of our world depends on the tending of our souls. Now is the time to pray, to find kindred spirits, and to become active in the faith communities that will be bulwarks of spiritual health regardless of what lies in store for us. Brooklyn — the Borough of Churches — can be the epicenter of this movement. The Episcopal churches in our area join all Brooklyn houses of worship in welcoming one and all to join in this work of ultimate significance.