Jews in the Desert
As part of its “¡RESILIENCIA! The Experience of Jewish Communities in Spain and the Americas” festival, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) is hosting several nights of documentary film screenings this coming week. On Saturday, May 18 at 3pm there’s a lecture on “Women of Valor” in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater. Following the lecture at 6:30pm you can watch Challah Rising in the Desert, an evocative documentary celebrating the history, influences and people of New Mexico’s Jewish Community. That’s followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, Isaac Artenstein, and producer Paula Amar Schwartz. Tickets are $25 for the lecture and film. On Tuesday, May 21 there’s a double-feature of short documentaries starting at 7pm. “Persecuted and Saved” chronicles the 5,000 to 7,000 Jews who managed to reach the Spanish border, fleeing Europe by crossing the Lleida Pyrenees. “Your Wishes in Heaven” looks at the life of Rachey Muyal, an 87-year-old descendent of Sephardim expelled from Spain in 1492, as she delivers a handwritten letter to the tombs of Catholic monarchs in Grenada, forgiving those responsible for the ancient expulsion. Director Miguel Ángel Nieto Solís is on hand for a post-film Q&A. Tickets are $15 for both films. Finally, on Thursday, May 23 there’s a round table discussion about Spain’s relationship with the State of Israel and the efforts of Instituto Cervantes to promote and preserve Jewish culture. That’s followed by the documentary The Caborca Jew: A Mexican Story. Inspired by the narrator’s own grandfather, the film tells the story of a Polish immigrant trying to get into the US who inadvertently finds himself the only Jew in the small, heavily Catholic town of Caborca, Mexico. For a complete schedule of other events at ¡RESILIENCIA!—including concerts, lectures, discussion and exhibits—go to nhccnm.org/events.