How Federation Makes an IMPACT: Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival

Through the Opportunity Fund, Federation makes one-time grants available to encourage creativity, innovation, and provide seed funding to address needs and opportunities not otherwise being met.

TCJFFOne such opportunity was for the Jewish Community Center of Greater St. Paul/Sabes Jewish Community Center—to support the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival that was held October/November 2015. One of the goals of this was to support collaborative, meaningful partnerships between the St. Paul JCC and the Sabes JCC in Jewish cultural arts offerings.

This past event marked its 22nd year, and included 13 movies – 7 of which were making their Midwest & Minnesota premieres! Below is a list of the films that were shown, in case you missed them.

Diplomacy – watch the trailer here

The Age of Love – watch the trailer here

To Life (A La Vie) – watch the trailer here

Is That You? – learn more about the film here

Sabena – watch the trailer here

Fauda – watch the trailer here

"Iris" (2015) - Directed by Albert Maysles

“Iris” (2015) – Directed by Albert Maysles

Are You Joking? – watch the trailer here

Iris – watch the trailer here. This movie is currently streaming on Netflix (as of 12/7/15).

Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus – watch the film in its entirety on YouTube here

Of Many – watch the trailer here

His Wife’s Lover – learn about the film here

Jerusalem – watch the trailer here

At Federation, one of our core priorities is strengthening our connection to Israel and Jewish Peoplehood. By engaging the local community here as well as our neighbors across the river, it’s our hope that supporting events such as the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival help us work towards accomplishing that mission.

We encourage you to subscribe to our blog to continue to learn about how the Minneapolis Jewish Federation makes an IMPACT in our community – both locally and abroad. And as always, we couldn’t do what we do without your support. If events such as the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival are important to you, please consider making a donation to Federation today so we can continue to provide support to events just like it in the Twin Cities.

Tell the UN: Don’t Tamper with the Jewish People’s Holiest Site


The Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul join with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas to urge you to sign this important petition.

The Executive Council of UNESCO is scheduled to vote this Wednesday, October 21, on an outrageous draft resolution about Jerusalem that was submitted by Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Urgent action is required immediately to defeat this extremely toxic resolution.

The provocative resolution demands that UNESCO affirm that “the Buraq Plaza is an integral part of the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.”  The Buraq Plaza is the Arabic name for the Western Wall or Kotel and the Al-Haram Al-Sharif is the Arabic designation for the Temple Mount.

At no point does this draft resolution acknowledge a Jewish association with the Western Wall, which is the last remaining vestige of the Second Jewish Temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.  Instead this resolution completely disregards any Jewish connection to the holiest structure within Judaism.

This gross attempt to erase Jews from our own history is unconscionable and must be rejected by the UNESCO Executive Board. (The resolution also condemns Israeli actions in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.)

Fortunately, not only has Israel, the United States, Britain, and other UN members denounced this initiative, claiming that the resolution disregards historical Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City, but even UNESCO’s executive director has “appeal[ed] to the UNESCO Executive Board to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”

Sources indicate that the same resolution will also be submitted to UNESCO’s 58-member General Assembly. Palestine has been recognized as a member of UNESCO since 2011, but is not on its 15-member Executive Council.

Because the last few weeks of violence in Israel were spurred in part by slanderous allegations about Israel’s intentions to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, this resolution is particularly inflammatory.

Urge the United Nations to reject this anti-Semitic resolution and to avert the potentially fatal impact that the adoption of such a one-sided and outrageous resolution would have not just on Israel, but the entire Middle East.

By signing this AJC petition you will take the most concrete step you can in publicly urging a NO VOTE on this resolution by the governments which make up the UNESCO Executive Council.

Please also share this Action Alert with your friends and encourage them to make their voices heard today.

TribeFest 2014: Celebrating Jewish Life

Max Orenstein

Max Orenstein

“Each generation needs to find contemporary relevance in our ancient society.”

These words, spoken by JDate CEO Greg Lieberman, embodied the spirit of this Spring’s TribeFest : 1,200 Jewish young adults, passionate about fostering Jewish identity among their peers.

And, of course, having a good time in The Big Easy.

Max Orenstein, Minneapolis TribeFest Chair, was drawn to TribeFest by the energy. “It’s the kick you need to stay excited about being involved in the Jewish community. Being in a room with a thousand Jews your age makes you want to go out and just make a difference—to make sure that Judaism is as important to the other Jews in Minneapolis as it is to me.”

Nine participants from Minneapolis made the trip to New Orleans for the bi-annual conference for young Jews in their 20s and 30s hosted by Jewish Federations of North America. “It was a great group,” said Max, “And we all definitely walked away excited about the future and inspired to be a part of building our community.”

Attendees heard from keynote speakers including LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman and West Wing and Scandal actor Joshua Malina, and attended their choice of breakout sessions focused on international Jewish issues including global poverty, emergency relief and Israel’s complex political and social dilemmas.

“In a crowd, the goal is to get ahead,” said Ulman during his keynote address. “In a community, none of us can move forward unless we move forward together….Let’s be a community.”

For Max, the realism of that message came alive when he listened to a case study of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s young adult division. In a city seemingly dealing with failure after failure, their Federation’s young adult group has flourished. “Their success is rooted in collaboration,” said Max. “Detroit’s story reaffirmed that effective collaboration between organizations needs to be a priority in Minneapolis.”

Between speaker sessions and parties infused with New Orleans culture, participants engaged with the local New Orleans community by participating in several service projects, including visiting seniors at Kingsley House Adult Services, cleaning up City Park and reading to children at ReNEW schools.

The Minneapolis group got down and dirty landscaping City Park. They cleaned and planted with results that would have taken the park’s meager staff months to accomplish. It was an activity that planted the seeds—pun absolutely intended—for future projects at home. “It felt really good to see tangible evidence that we gave back,” said Max. “I would love to do more hands on work in our own community.”

Max hopes to recruit more Minneapolis young Jews to join him at the next TribeFest so they can experience the same rush of Jewish pride that he did. “TribeFest isn’t just for those of who are already involved in the Federation,” Max explains. “It’s for anyone that wants to do something Jewish.”