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The link to the film and the Zoom instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the discussion.

Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with Rodef Shalom Congregation, is excited to offer the opportunity to watch the film “Maabarot” and engage in a post-film discussion with the film’s producer, Arik Bernstein, and CWB scholar Avi Ben Hur.


The transit camps (“Ma’abarot”) were temporary housing solutions that the young state of Israel had established in order to take in the vast amounts of immigrants who arrived in a short amount of time to inhabit the new country. For the first four years after Israel had become a state (1948-1952), it had received more than three hundred thousand (300,000) immigrants who lived in temporary housings such as tents, tin huts, canvas huts and more. In total, there were more than 130 “Ma’abarot” scattered all over the country. Most of them were eliminated by the mid-1950s and their residents moved to permanent housing, but there were still thousands of immigrants who stayed in the camps longer, some until the 1970s.

The transit camps were a controversial enterprise, housing hundreds of thousands of new immigrants from different parts of the world, transitioning them into becoming part of the Israeli cultural tapestry. The transit camps period (1948-1952), although affecting the Israeli society until this very day, is forgotten from public consciousness.

The film “Ma’abarot” is the first documentary project unfolding the story of the transit camps in a thorough and comprehensive way, unraveling the many stories of the camp residents, examining and discovering surprising new details, and shattering common stereotypes in the current Israeli discourse. The film follows the story of the camps, starting from the establishment of the state of Israel, up until mid-1950s. It is based on thorough research, rare archive footage and interviews with dozens of people including former camp residents who grew up in a camp, social workers, policemen and nurses who experienced everyday life in the camps.

The film teaches us that the camps had received not only immigrants from Islamic countries, but also many Europeans, especially Eastern Europeans. This melting pot of Jews from across the world had started a long continuing dispute about discrimination between “Ashkenazi” Jews and “Mizrahi” Jews, claiming that the Israeli establishment treated the “Mizrahim” (Islamic country immigrants) in a condescending way, recoiling and dismissing them as inferiors.

Arik Bernstein

Arik Bernstein has been a leading force in the Israeli film industry for the past 20 years. He has initiated and overseen numerous documentaries, drama and documentary series, as well as a multitude of international co-productions. His films and programs have been screened in major film and TV festivals worldwide, and have been awarded numerous Israeli and international prizes. In 1993, Arik established Matar Productions, later forming Alma Films in 2003. Bernstein is a graduate of the Film Program at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

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“Ma’abarot” Film and Discussion with Film Producer Arik Bernstein

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM


accessibility friendlyhearing impaired accessibleThe full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community. Please discuss accessibility accommodations with the contact person for this event.

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