Join Partnership2Gether of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Classrooms Without Borders, as we learn about four Polish Jews who newly discovered their Jewish identities.
After the Holocaust, Jewish life and identity was decimated in Poland, worsened by the oppression brought on by communism after the war. When communism fell, Poles started learning slowly about their Jewish backgrounds, often hidden or unknown to them previously. In a movie with a title taken from a quote by a person interviewed in the film, “H I Jew Positive” explores the joys and complexities of the journeys of Poles who newly discovered their Jewish identities. A link to the film will be sent out in advance and during the zoom we will talk with the film’s director, Ronit Kertsner, a Polish Jewish historian, Natalia Aleksiun, and people who have personally undergone this journey who will share their stories with us.
The title of the movie we are promoting for this program, H I Jew Positive, is a quote taken from a young Polish teenager who was interviewed during the film, in which he talks about his personal reaction after learning about his Jewish identity for the first time. The Jewish Federation is in no way making light of HIV or equating being Jewish with a virus. In context, the teenager was describing in a derogatory way his feelings about coming out as a Jew in Poland and the way it could lead to the loss of friends, jobs, and even family connections. It is important to understand the context in which the film’s title was born, and you are invited to learn more about this by registering for this zoom and watching the movie in full in advance.
You will receive a link to watch the film after you register.
Ronit Kertsner is a documentary filmmaker. Born in Jerusalem in 1956, after her military service, she was admitted to the Cinema Department at Tel Aviv University. Upon completion, she began work as a professional editor, and has edited dozens of documentary films in her career. For the last 17 years, she has directed and produced seven documentaries, including “Menachem and Fred” (2009), “Torn” (2011), “H. I. Jew Positive” (2013), and “Refugee Lullaby” (2019). The daughter of American parents, Ronit is married with two daughters.
Natalia Aleksiun is Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Graduate School, Touro College, New York. She is a historian of East European Jewish history and the Holocaust. She studied Polish and Jewish history at the Warsaw University, the Graduate School of Social Studies in Warsaw and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Oxford University and New York University. She published over 40 articles in English, Hebrew, Polish, French and Czech. Her book Where to? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944-1950 in 2002 received the Academic Prize of Poland’s Prime Minister. She held fellowships at the USHMM in Washington DC, Yad Vashem, Wiesenthal Institute in Vienna and Center for Holocaust Studies in Munich. She co-edited the twentieth and the twenty-ninth volumes of Polin. Her critical edition of Gerszon Taffet’s Destruction of Żółkiew Jews was published in 2019. Her book titled Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust will be published by Littman Library in July 2020. She is currently working on a book about the so-called cadaver affair at European Universities in the 1920s and 1930s and on a project dealing with daily lives of Jews in hiding in Galicia during the Holocaust.
This and other opportunities to learn about our new partners in Warsaw, Poland, is brought to you by Partnership2Gether.
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The Ongoing Process of Discovery of Jewish Identity in Poland
Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 @ 1:00 PM - 2:30 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.