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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 “Operation Wedding” and engage in a post-film discussion with the film director, Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov. CWB scholar Avi Ben-Hur will open the discussion.
Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Soviet Jews who were denied exit visas, plots to “hijack” an empty plane and escape the USSR.
It started as a fantasy, Operation Wedding, as outrageous as it was simple: Under the disguise of a trip to a local family wedding, the group members would buy every ticket on a small 12-seater plane, so there would be no passengers but them, no innocents in harm’s way. The group’s pilot would take over the controls and fly the 16 runaways into the sky, over the Soviet border, on to Sweden, bound for Israel.
Caught by the KGB a few steps from boarding, they were sentenced to years in the gulag and two were sentenced to death; they never got on a plane.
While the Soviet press writes “the criminals received their punishment,” tens of thousands of people in the free world demand “Let My People Go!” and as the Iron Curtain opens a crack for 300,000 Soviets Jews wanting to flee, the group members are held back to pay the price of freedom for everyone else.
45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, leading characters of the group, “heroes” in the West but “terrorists” in Russia, even today.
Anat and her mother, Sylva, retrace the group’s journey from a Soviet airport to a KGB prison. Cigarettes and vodka fuel interviews with the parents filled with intelligence and humor. Archives, reenactments and interviews with KGB officers enhance this inspiring story of young Jews who imagined freedom and cracked the Iron Curtain.
Born and raised in Israel, Anat studied film-making in Israel and England before embarking on a film career, where she had success in both popular media and promotional productions. Anat’s most recent documentary, Operation Wedding, was released in 2016 in Israel, and has since appeared in film festivals around the world, winning awards for best documentary and best story. Although the documentary is complete, Anat feels the need to make sure that the next generation is familiar with the struggle of Soviet Jewry. She produced a film of archival materials for historians on the struggle, began pushing out materials about Soviet Jewry through social media, and developed an educational online program with Lookstein Center of Bar Ilan University, The Refusenik Project.
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“Operation Wedding” Post-Film Discussion with Film Director Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov
Thursday, Sep. 3, 2020 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
The 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.