HAPPENINGS/Preview: November 2012

Free Sephardic film festival begins Nov. 13

The sixth annual Sephardic Winter Film Festival begins Nov. 13 at Congregation Ahavath Achim, 3225 SW Barbur Blvd., Portland.

Films are shown at 7 pm the second Tuesday of each month from November to April. The free evenings are followed by refreshments and a speaker.

“Since we are the minority of Jews in Portland, we feel it is important to expose the rest of the Jewish community and the general community to Sephardic history and culture,” says Film Festival Chair Richard Matza. “We want to educate the community about our rich culture.”

The series begins Nov. 13 with Turkish Passport (Director: Burak Arliel, French language with English subtitles, 2011, 91 minutes). The film tells the story of diplomats posted to Turkish embassies and consulates in several European countries who saved numerous Jews during World War II. The speaker following the film will be Professor Tugrul Keskin, Center for Turkish Studies at Portland State University.

Matza said he is looking forward to this first film. “Our synagogue was founded by Turkish and Greek Jews so it tells the story of folks who share our heritage.”

Other films are: Dec. 11, My Sweet Canary; Jan. 8, 2013, Every Time We Say Goodbye; Feb. 12, 2013, double feature: The Life of Frank Iny: A Granddaughter’s Journey and Searching for Baghdad; A Daughter’s Journey; March 12, 2013, Empty Boxcars; and April 9, 2013, Nora’s Will.

For more information on the festival, call David Tver at 503-892-6634.
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Ugandan Jewish leader to visit Portland

Aaron Kintu Moses, a leader of the Abayudaya Jewish community in Mbale, Uganda, will visit Portland as part of a North American speaking tour sponsored by U.S.-based Kulanu, Inc.

P’nai Or of Portland will host Moses for an Abayudaya Shabbaton Nov. 16-17. He will be accompanied by Lorne Mallin of Vancouver, B.C., who has lived and worked with the Abayudaya.

The community is invited to meet Moses at “The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda: A Benefit Talk and Music Performance,” 7- 9 pm, Nov. 17, at Congregation Neveh Shalom, 2900 SW Peaceful Lane, Portland. Moses will share the story of the 1,000-member Abayudaya community established in 1919 and its struggle to maintain its Jewish identity in Uganda in the face of persecution and intolerance, particularly during the regime of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

“The story of the Abayudaya is inspiring,” says Mallin. “The community has created a strong and vital Jewish presence in the heart of Uganda and works hard to improve the quality of life for its own people as well as for its neighbors.”

Moses will talk about the Kulanu-supported Abayudaya primary and secondary schools, which provide education and meals to some 700 Jewish, Muslim and Christian children studying together in peace. Other Abayudaya-Kulanu programs include a child hunger project, health education and women’s empowerment programs, micro-finance and eco-tourism.

Kulanu has worked with the leaders of the Abayudaya Jewish community for 16 years. In 2005, Kulanu helped the main Abayudaya village receive electricity when it joined Uganda’s national electricity grid. In 2007, it helped the community drill its first water well at their school.

Kulanu (“All of Us” in Hebrew), founded in 1994, supports isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world.

The Abayudaya are one P’nai Or of Portland’s tzedakah partners for 2011-13. For information on other Shabbaton programs, visit pnaiorpdx.org.

For more information about Kulanu and the Abayudaya, visit www.kulanu.org/abayudaya.

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