Film Forum To Observe 80th Anniversary Of Kristallnacht, Raise Funds For March Of The Living

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Staff report

In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the event considered the start of the Holocaust, the 17th Annual Kristallnacht Film Forum (KFF) will once again showcase a Holocaust-related feature.

Presented by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and the March of the Living, The Samuel Project, starring Hal Linden, will be screened on Nov. 4 at 11:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. in Zinman Hall on the Federation campus. Each screening will include a discussion with the producer of the film.

A comedic drama, The Samuel Project, tells the story of Eli, a teenager (Ryan Ochoa) who gets to know his grandfather Samuel (Hal Linden) for the first time when he makes him the subject of a senior year animated art project. He discovers that his grandpa, a Jewish dry cleaner, was heroically saved from Nazi capture in Germany as a boy. After hesitating, Samuel agrees to tell his story for the project—a story he hasn’t told in over 75 years. Eli’s project makes the finals in a countywide art showcase. And, after decades, three generations of Eli’s family finally connect with one another.

“As well as an important commemoration, KFF is a vital annual effort to raise scholarship funds for local teens to participate in the life-changing March of the Living, and to enable our courageous Holocaust survivors to accompany them,” said Jack Rosenbaum, March of the Living Southern Region Director. “Each year, the March takes high school juniors and seniors through months of preparation, capped by the largest annual gathering of Jewish teens in the world. Our teens are accompanied by local educators, rabbis from all denominations and Holocaust survivors as we travel through the camps, ghettos and communities of Poland. On Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) we march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. Then we move on to the joy of Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) in our homeland, to celebrate the miracles of the modern state of Israel.”

Starting at 2:00 p.m, between the two screenings, a donor reception followed by a program with a moving candle-lighting ceremony will pay tribute to this year’s KFF honorees, Sam and Bilha Ron, as well as recognize many local Holocaust survivors, long term March of the Living participants and supporters.

Sam, a survivor of the Cracow ghetto and multiple camps, as well as his injuries in Israel’s War of Independence, went on to bring refugee children from Europe to the fledgling homeland and later became a successful businessman and Jewish community leader in Ohio. Deeply committed to the March of the Living, he is always ready to share his experiences with young people and other groups. This coming spring, at age 94, he will participate in his 11th March. A Sabra and accomplished Jewish educator and Holocaust educator, Bilha’s dedication to fostering Jewish knowledge and commitment continues today.

Donors of $180 or more to the KFF will be invited to the reception in the Lester M. and Sally Holocaust Pavilion, and will receive two tickets to the film.

Individual film tickets are available in advance for a $10 donation and $8 with a valid student ID, or $18 at the door. All proceeds support the March of the Living Fund, which enables local high school students to participate in this unique Holocaust education experience capped by travel to Poland and Israel.

Tickets may be purchased and donations made online at jewishboca.org/engage/events/rsvp/kristallnacht.  The Jewish Federation campus is located at 9901 Donna Klein Boulevard, Boca Raton. A valid driver’s license is required for entry.