Film Review | Jerusalem Balagan

                  Paris Boutique 2022 81 minutes Director: Marco Carmel Mayane Films, United Channel Movies, United King Film Distribution Hebrew, English, French with English Subtitles Romantic Comedy When sophisticated Parisian-Jewish lawyer Louise, played by Joséphine Draï (Belle Belle Belle, Man Up!) is asked by her father to take a temporary respite from planning her extravagant wedding and fly to Jerusalem to close on a multi-million euro deal, little could she have imagined the dramas that would ensue on her three-day trip.   This zany romantic comedy admirably illustrates how Israeli cinema and Jewish culture is so much wider and richer than the sturm und drang in which it is so often portrayed. That the film has already garnered six nominations for Ophir Awards (aka the Israeli Oscars) is a testament to director Marco Carmel (Noble Savage, Almost Famous). Unlike so many films of the genre—with clichéd...

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Memoir | A Jewish Heart Divided

The traffic noise on Arlozorov Street, in the heart of Tel Aviv, seemed unusually loud that October evening. Leaning over the railing of my friend Shoshana’s balcony, I watched with concern as a flood of cars and trucks rushed past below. It was Yom Kippur Eve, 1973. We had expected the street to be deserted since virtually everything in the country was closed. But with rising alarm, we realized that the drivers were almost all men, and many were dressed in army fatigues. They were clearly reservists in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), on their way to an unknown battlefront. Even before we heard the announcement on the radio several hours later, we knew that war was imminent, and we were tense and anxious.  By the next morning, Shoshana and I had learned the awful news:...

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Beshert | Inside Our Gates

Josh and I met in Jerusalem, just outside the Jaffa Gate. He was a tour guide before COVID-19 brought the tourist trade shuddering to a halt, but he still made some money giving tours to locals. I knew him remotely through a friend and saw a Facebook post offering a tour of the Old City, my favorite part of Jerusalem.  At 40, I had never been married and was no longer looking for love. “That ship has sailed,” I told myself. I also told myself, “I don’t mind.”  Of course I did mind, but what can you do? On my 40th birthday, I resolved to put all that behind me and to focus instead on enjoying my life. I was happy to take a day off work to learn more about my magnificent city. And there at...

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Jerusalem: A City Divided by Sound

It's just before 8 a.m. on a Shabbat morning in Jerusalem. At this early hour, the dry summer heat hasn't settled down on the city yet, and the air is still fresh with the scent of jasmine. The Jerusalem stones are still soft-looking. I'm sitting in my garden, enjoying the calm, beginning to read the paper, drinking a cup of coffee. There's never much traffic on my street in a leafy neighborhood in the southern part of the city, and almost none on a Saturday morning. And then a sharp crack sound. And another, and another until the din is ominously loud. The neighborhood suddenly wakes up. "Where is that noise coming from?" asks a middle-aged woman, plodding into the street in her fuzzy Lion King slippers and tying the belt of her silk bathrobe tighter. "Is that...

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