Four award-winning documentary films exploring both serious and light aspects of Jewish-American and Israeli life highlight the Temple Sinai Film Festival Fundraiser, with showings on Tuesday and Jan. 24.
The films come from the unusual filmmaking team of Israeli scholar Yael Katzir and her writer-director son, Dan Katzir. Representatives of the films will join viewers electronically for discussions after the showings.
Tuesday's double feature begins at 1:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai in Sarasota with a showing of Dan Katzir's film "Out For Love ... Be Back Shortly." The film examines Israeli youth, courtships and relationships conducted during the constant threat of violence and impending war.
Tuesday's second film, "Praying in Her Own Voice," delves into the controversial custom of disallowing women from praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the struggle of Jewish women to overcome custom and law to maintain a presence there.
Jan. 24's screening of "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story" begins at 2:30 p.m. It's an entertaining look at the Yiddish Public Theater in New York City and its struggles to survive in a mainstream cosmopolitan culture that has little room for Yiddish customs and art. This film drew strong attendance as part of a Sarasota Film Festival at Burns Court two years ago.
The final film is "Company Jasmine," a straightforward account of a group of young women going through officers' training in the Israeli army and the effects the training has on their lives.
"We explored lots of possibilities, but we really couldn't find any other films that matched the charm and breadth of these movies with regard to the issues we wanted to explore," said Julian Koss, an organizer of the festival. "We're really very proud of the lineup, and very pleased that we'll be able to have voices from the filmmakers available for discussions."
Each of the films has won awards from festival jurors in Europe and Israel.