Saudade: A Sephardic journey


10 years ago, after a series of seemingly disparate coincidences, Judy Rodrigues began a journey into 300 years of East End London Jewish history, which led her back through her grandfather’s Sephardic Marrano Jewish roots to Portugal and Northern Spain As an artist, the histories and stories became part of ‘life being lived’ as they began to permeate, enrich and expand the poetic metaphors of experience and place through her work. The journey became as much a search for the sense of a lost community, as that of an individual identity.


Judy Rodrigues is an artist working in contemporary contexts with a studio at Spike Island, Bristol. In 2008 she was awarded a residency grant in Mertola, Portugal followed by an exhibition in Porto. In 2014 she received an Arts Council grant to work in Isle of Wight and exhibited in Dimbola Lodge, once home of the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. In 2017 she exhibited in Pico Island, Azores and then worked on a collaborative publication with Portuguese poet Jose Efe. Their book, In Pico, will be launched Jan 2019.




Professor Eliezer Shkolnik, an elderly Talmudic scholar, whose long career has never amounted to much, has always been eclipsed by his middle-aged son – Professor Uriel Shkolnik, also a Talmudic specialist – who has been showered with all the awards and fellowships that he himself yearned for. The older man must now reconcile himself to being a footnote in his son’s life. Then, one day, a sensational piece of news turns everything upside down. Joseph Cedar’s Israeli movie Footnote is a sprightly, shrewd and ingenious black comedy of middle age and disappointed ambition. (modified from Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)


Israel 2011, 107 mins, Hebrew with sub-titles

Directed by Joseph Cedar and starring Shlomo Bar’aba and Lior Ashkenazi

The Jewish Influence on the British film industry and screening of The Man Who Got Carter, a documentary about the Jewish film producer Michael Klinger


The Jewish Influence on the British film industry and screening of The Man Who Got Carter, a documentary about the Jewish film producer Michael Klinger


This event, part of the Jewish Historical Society’s Jewish History Month, jointly hosted by JHSE, Watershed, UWE and DAVAR will occur at the Watershed. It will provide a unique insight into the potent influence of Jewish entrepreneurs and film-makers on the UK’s film industry.  Prof. Andrew Spicer (UWE) will give an overview of how Jewish exhibitors, distributors and producers shaped the evolution of the British film industry from its beginning to the present. Film-maker and writer Tony Klinger will introduce the feature-length documentary, The Man Who Got Carter, about his father, Michael Klinger, a highly successful independent producer from 1960 to the early 1980s whose most famous film was Get Carter (1971). The documentary will be followed by a Q and A session.


Tickets available via Watershed www.watershed.co.uk

Box Office: 0117 927 5100, 1 Canons Road, Harbourside, Bristol  BS1 5TX


Women of Valour


At the heart of growing fundamentalism in the Haredi sector lies the fate of women: rabbis have decreed bans on women driving, installed modesty patrols, enforced gender segregation on buses, and caused women’s faces to be omitted in newspapers and magazines. Whilst Haredi men attempt to render women voiceless and faceless, mainstream media does little better. Haredi women, however, are not all sitting silently in their floor-length clothing locked in their homes despairing their helpless fate.  In a range of texts and genresthese women have been responding to their experiences. In this talk, Karen will draw on research from her recent book, Women of Valor, to highlight the work Haredi women are doing today.


Karen Skinazi is a senior teaching fellow at the University of Bristol. She has recently published Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture. Her writing about literature, race, gender, Jewish culture, and motherhood has appeared in academic journals and popular papers



RBG is a remarkable documentary of the career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which spans several decades, and how she developed a legal legacy while becoming a pop culture icon.  In the 1970s Ginsburg played a leading role as a legal warrior for women’s rights.  “I ask for no favour for my sex,” she said, quoting the abolitionist Sarah Grimké from 1837. “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” An astonishing woman who at 85, having already survived bouts of cancer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the proverbial survivor.


US 2018, 97 mins, English

Directed by Betsy West starring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem


Finding Relly

Rosemary grew up as the daughter of a Czech immigrant in post-war UK and Canada. She was unaware of her father’s Jewish identity and of what really happened to his absent relatives. After her father’s death, she felt compelled to discover the truth about his family. Tracing her aunt Relly, who had emigrated to Australia after surviving Auschwitz, was a significant turning point in her life and her new book Finding Relly is about her journey, both personal and logistical.Rosemary will also talk about using her book to educate schoolchildren about the Holocaust.


Rosemary Schonfeld toured the world throughout the 1980s with her band Ova.  She is a professional musician and composer based in Devon. She has recorded and produced/co-produced six albums, co-run a recording studio, devised a teaching package for percussionists, and is currently working on a rock opera. She has published an illustrated book of Nonsense Poetry, Standing on Your Head, and short stories.


The arrival of two orthodox Jews upsets the wedding day of a rural town clerk’s son in Hungary in 1945. This drama filmed in elegant black and white is from Hungarian director Ferenc Török. It captures the collective guilt of the community who have moved into the homes and taken possession of the property of their former Jewish neighbours forcing them to face culpability and dishonour when challenged by the two men of faith.


Hungary 2017, 91 mins, Hungarian with sub-titles (Black and White)

Director Ferenc Török with Péter Rudolf and Tamás Szabó Kimme


The Bagel: past, present and future


If smoked salmon and cream cheese bring but one thing to mind, then you are part of a long and fascinating edible history that has brought the roll with a hole from 17th century Poland to the freezers of the modern Anglo-American home. The talk will give a cultural but light-hearted overview of this modest ring-shaped bread that has gained a place in history.

Clarissa Hyman is an award-winning freelance writer, specialising in all aspects of food and travel taking in producers, ingredients, restaurants, recipes, food policy and consumer trends, and she uses food as a means to explore a wider world of culture and history, art and agriculture.  She contributes to a wide range of newspapers, magazines and guides, and is the author of Cucina Siciliana (Conran Octopus 2001), The Jewish Kitchen (2003), and The Spanish Kitchen (2005).  She has been shortlisted for all of the major cookery writing awards, and twice has won the Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year Award.  She contributed the Fruit section of Dorling Kindersley’s Ingredients (2010).  In 2013 Reaktion published her Oranges: A Global History and her next book for Reaktion “Tomatoes: A Global History” will be published in 2019.

A bag of marbles (un sac de billes)

Canadian director Christian Duguay explores the horrors of World War Two from the perspective of two young Jewish boys living in Nazi-occupied France in Un Sac De Billes (A Bag of Marbles). Based on the acclaimed memoirs of the same name by Joseph Joffo, A Bag of Marbles is a lavishly shot production that is brilliantly acted and is a gut-wrenching reminder of one of history’s darkest chapters. Following the fall of Paris to Nazi Germany during World War II, brothers Maurice (Batyste Fleurial) and Joseph (Dorian Le Clech) are forced to leave their close-knit Jewish family behind for the free-zone along the French Riviera.

 Despite the grim war scenes and the dark subject matter, Duguay has created a lavishly shot film that boasts stunning cinematography, lush locations and beautiful period costumes. The film beautifully balances the high stake tension with some sweet and endearing moments between the two brothers and celebrates their innocence. While the film is a dark reminder of a horrible page in our history, its heart-warming story reminds us that there are still good people in our darkest moments (modified from Daniele Foti-Cuzzola)

France 2017, 113 mins, French, German, Russian, Yiddish; Director Christian Duguay featuring Batyste Fleurial, Dorian Le Clech



Belonging and belongings: Jewish poetry in the UK today

What does it mean to be a Jewish poet?  Can a non-Jew, like Micheal O’Siadhail, write about the Holocaust? (See The Gossamer Wall, Bloodaxe 2002).  Maybe the Irish and the Jews have enough in common to be able to immerse themselves in each other’s histories.  Does  a writer and in particular a poet have to belong somewhere before they can write?  Who do their poems belong to?  What part do journals like Jewish Renaissance and the Jewish Quarterly play in keeping alive the identity of Jewish poets and poetry. How important are Jewish poets like Aviva Dautch, Poet in Residence at the Jewish Museum in London, who also works with refugees getting them to write poetry?

Liz Cashdan is a poet and teaches Creative Writing for the Open College of the Arts. She is former Chair of the National Association of Writers in Education. She also teaches Creative Writing for the Folk House in Bristol and in schools.  She is Poetry Editor of Jewish Renaissance and in 1996 won the Jewish Quarterly poetry prize with her historical sequence, The Tyre-Cairo Letters based on a fragment from the Cairo Geneza   She has an MA in History from Oxford and a PhD in Literature from Sheffield Hallam University.  Her latest collection is Things of Substance: New and Selected Poems (Five Leaves Publications 2013).