Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.
2008, Rainlake Productions, 110 minutes
When Andrew Jacobs heard about a bungalow colony of Holocaust survivors on Geiger Road in the Catskills, his mind unleashed a series of pardonable stereotypes. “I imagined a band of beaten-down octogenarians, embittered by their pasts, whiling away their final days in decrepit lawn chairs,” the New York Times staff writer remembered. But when he arrived at the Four Seasons Lodge he was surprised to discover a social scene that “would have put a teenaged prom crowd to shame;” nearly 100 men and women “elegantly dressed in evening wear,” were dancing to “a tuxedo-clad band that played disco classics as effortless as Polish pre-war tangos.”
Survivors dancing at Four Seasons Lodge.
When he learned that the colony was slated to be sold – Chassidim are the only buyers, and they offered $2 million to buy a different bungalow colony, according to Jacobs’ article – he decided to return to observe the group’s final summer. “A book, I thought, could never capture these remarkable characters and their intensely communal lives,” he said; “a longer newspaper article would not do justice to their astonishing embrace for life, and the darkness that shadowed them even when they were laughing.” So the man who had never before made a film decided he had found fodder for his first documentary.
Survivors’ minyan at Four Seasons Lodge.
But ghost towns apparently are very welcoming to people haunted by ghosts. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, firemen, or more accurately arsonists, are employed by the State to destroy books, and it takes exceptional individuals to thwart this anti-intellectual campaign. They succeed, in part, by memorizing books, and each comes to identify with the work he or she preserves. The differences between Bradbury’s fictive human books and the very real stories of the summer visitors to Four Seasons Lodge surely extend far beyond the fact that the characters commit other people’s stories to memory, while the survivors remember their own experiences. But like Bradbury’s resistance fighters, these Holocaust survivors had to not only survive, but also to rebuild their lives after the war. “No psychiatrist in the world can heal you from that,” one man says in the documentary. “It always comes back to you. You live with this.”
Survivors engage in a game of cards at Four Seasons Lodge.
Jacobs’ journalistic skills show through as well, and a lesser writer and director might not have been able to tease out such interesting – though also sad, terrifying, and depressing – conversations. One man tells of reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (in Polish translation) in the mid-1930s and crying for the injustice as he wondered how anyone could enslave other people. Little did he know what was in store for him and his family.
Old friends meeting again for the summer at Four Seasons Lodge.
As is to be expected, the survivors do not agree on everything. A theological debate breaks out while several of the men and women are cleaning fish. “I believe in food. I believe in eating,” the conversation starts, though it quickly turns to “I didn’t see the miracles.” “I look, I look for G-d … and I can’t get ahold of Him. Maybe he is asleep,” says one man, who questions where G-d was during the Holocaust. “I do believe there is a G-d,” a woman insists. “You can’t believe in nothing,” she says of the non-believer, “You know what he is? A yeshiva bochur. He used to have payos!”
But even though some struggle with their beliefs, the camera captures the women lighting Shabbat candles, and the men reciting havdallah. This community began of necessity (several of the survivors address the difficulties of finding a community after the War), but the viewer gets the feeling that it continued to sustain itself for so long, through resilience that is about both having fun during the summer and deeper religious motivations. “This is our revenge on Hitler. To live this long, this well, is a victory,” says Fran Lask, 82, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen.
One of the most important lines in the film might be one woman’s observation, “Life can be beautiful even when it’s not so easy.” Coming from a community of survivors who happily drink “l’chaim” on soda, orange juice, and their medicine, this is not to be taken lightly. It takes a special group of people to create their own afterlife and an even more special group of people that can still fight to protect that “paradise in the mountains” well into its 80s and 90s.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.
There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.
This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).
While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.
Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.
The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.
“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”
“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”
Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.
It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.
The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.
Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.
The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”
It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.
It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.
Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.
The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?
Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/a-microcosm-of-the-afterlife-the-catskills-four-seasons-lodge/2008/07/09/
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