The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Triad Jewish Film Festival

(Cloud Gamble)

The year is 1940. The notorious Adolf Hitler has already invaded Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. In America, 3.7 percent of the population is Jewish. In Greensboro, N.C., there are only 250 people of the Jewish religion.

We’ve come a long way in the past 71 years. Hitler’s dead, and the massive genocide of the Jewish population in Europe is over.

Today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45 percent of all Jews in the world live in America, outranking Israel by 3 percent. In Greensboro, the number of Jewish residents has soared from 250 to 3,000.

In honor and celebration of the rich culture of the Jewish people, the Greensboro Jewish Federation is sponsoring the 2011 Triad Jewish Film Festival.

Each year since 2007, the TJFF has attracted thousands of curious viewers that want to gain some insight into the culture, history, and traditions of the Jewish people, or just want to celebrate the joys of being Jewish. The mission, according to the festival’s website, is to “enlighten, educate, and entertain.”

The festival’s website brags that they are “proud to feature award-winning films — comedies, dramas, and documentaries — that would not otherwise be shown in the Triad.”

The patron behind the festival, the Greensboro Jewish Federation, is the proud voice of Greensboro’s Jewish community. It has funded programs centered on the Jewish community for the young and old alike since 1940, providing a “lifelong community that grows with you from childhood to old age.”

Before evolving into what it is today, the Federation was called the Greensboro United Charities.

In the 1940’s, after the start of WWII, the Charities aided eight refugee Jewish families by relocating them to Greensboro. After the war, they worked to develop local Jewish agencies and to support the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Charities reorganized to form the Greensboro Jewish Federation in 1972, and incorporated the Jewish communities of Winston-Salem and High Point. Since then, the federation has hosted rallies, protests, fundraisers, and awareness programs. The Federation now has over 1,100 contributors and raises over $1.55 million annually.

I myself am not Jewish. And, honestly, I have no idea which religion — if any — my friends practice. When I asked one student — who I found out was Jewish only after she received a Chanukah card in the mail — if I could interview her about her thoughts on the Jewish community in Greensboro, she responded that she honestly didn’t have anything to say.

I read the Buzz almost daily, and while I have seen religious services for Buddhists and Quakers advertised, I do not remember once reading about Jewish practices. I was handed a Bible on my way to lunch one day by some Gideons International representatives, but I did not even know that there was a Jewish club until today.

I’m definitely not for people throwing their religion in your face, but why does the Jewish community seem so hush-hush? I think that Guilford definitely needs to work on their Jewish outreach tactics, and set up more activities for Jews and non-Jews alike to embrace the dreidels and the yarmulkes, the Torah, the menorahs and the latkes.

The TJFF is a great approach to engaging more people in the religion and the culture. Six films are shown each year at the festival. This year’s picks, which include “Hidden Children,” “The Matchmaker,” and “Berlin ’36,” are sure to give you more than a glimpse into the Jewish tradition. But more than just educate you, they’ll entertain you.


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