Project of the Month

These programs allow talented underprivileged teenagers to fulfill their potential by providing them with a challenging program of enrichment and leadership training at the Ruppin Institute of Marine Science. Talented 7th graders from all backgrounds of Israeli society in the lower socio-economic levels are chosen - programs run for 2 years.

Raanana Cinema Club

Monthly screening of acclaimed documentary films - 20:00 at Yad Lebanim, Raanana.
Tickets: NIS 60; ESRAcards NIS 50. Reservations in advance from ESRA 09-748 2957.

You can see a list of all the films shown at the ESRA Raanana Cinema Club by clicking on the red highlight, or on the link below.

ESRA's Cinema Club in Raanana re-opened in February 2015, honoring Audrey Goodman ז''ל  who conceived and ran the program for 10 years.

Ellen Kronitz is ESRA's volunteer coordinator for the Cinema Club. If anyone has any suggestions or requests for films please contact her at:

2017 season

Wednesday 25 October 2017

"WEEK 23"  -
a gentle, compassionate film made by director Ohad Milstein. His wife ‎Rahel is pregnant with twins. In her 23rd week, Rahel learns that one of the fetuses died ‎in utero. The medical staff say that there is a high chance that the surviving fetus will be ‎born with severe brain damage or other disabilities. They are unanimous in their ‎recommendation to terminate the pregnancy.‎

This presents the couple with a critical dilemma. Should they really end the pregnancy ‎by aborting the surviving fetus?‎

Clinging only to faith and her maternal instincts, Rahel, the daughter of a Swiss bishop, ‎confronts everyone around her over the right of her surviving fetus to live, regardless of ‎how perfect or imperfect it is.‎

The Director of the Film, Ohad Milstein, will speak after the film.‎

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Operation Wedding    Directed By   Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov      
Produced by Sasha Klein, Guntis Trekteris, Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Jewish dissidents plots to hijack an empty plane and escape the USSR. Caught by the KGB a few steps from boarding, they were sentenced to years in the gulag and two were sentenced to death; they never got on a plane. 45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, leaders of the group, "heroes" in the West but "terrorists" in Russia, even today.

Wednesday 12 July 2017   -   HAUTE CUISINE GOES KOSHER      Directed by Noemi Schory

Jerusalem was the site for a gathering of 13 of the world's greatest chefs who toiled for two ‎days to prepare a 12-course feast for the senses. ‎The celebration was for Jerusalem's 3000th birthday and yes-there was a catch. Everything ‎had to be kosher!

The documentary follows the fun as each chef, including New Orleans' Paul Prudhomme (who ‎created an entirely new dish for the event), prepared for the big moment when 350 lucky ‎guests would arrive for dinner. ‎

Director Noemi Schory spoke after the screening

June 2017 -  "Handa Handa 4"‎   Directed by ‎David Ofek & Neta Shoshani

Ronen and Orit have been together for almost three years. Both of them come from ‎highly respected Bukhari families. Ronen is the star of Handa Handa theater troupe, a ‎hit among the Bukhari community in Israel and around the world.

According to the ‎strict Bukhari tradition couples must marry after a brief acquaintance. But Ronen and ‎Orit rebel against their families and refuse to get married. Even making every effort to ‎protect Orit’s “honor” is not enough for her parents, who demand they either marry or ‎break up. Their love is trapped between tradition and modernity‏

Director David Ofek will speak after the screening


May 2017 -   "Dimona Twist"     Directed by Michal Aviad

Seven women arrive in Israel by ship in the 1950s and 1960s and are sent straight to Dimona, a town recently established in the desert. They now open up and share their life stories that have never before been told from their perspectives. What happened during the first fifteen years to the girls and women who arrived with their families from North Africa and Poland and found themselves building a town in the middle of the desert? They talk about the pain of leaving their homes behind, about poverty and the difficulties of adjusting in their new homeland, and about their determined attempts to create rich and meaningful lives.

In the film Dimona Twist, which mixes between conversations with the protagonists and private and public archives, they recount the struggles they took part in and the insights they gained, with humor, sorrow and dignity.

Director Michal Aviad spoke after the screening

March 2017 -  "Tour De Finaly"  Directed by Micha Shagrir

Synopsis:  Grenoble, France, late-1943. Dr. Fritz and Annie Finaly handed over their children – two-and-a-half year old Robert and eighteen-month-old Gerald – into the guardianship of a neighbor. In February 1944, Fritz and Annie were arrested by Gestapo agents and never seen again. Records show they were killed in Auschwitz.

The film “Tour de Finaly” recounts the journey of Robert and Gad Finaly - now adult
s with children and grandchildren of their own – to the geographical milestones of their childhood. The film winds between France, Israel, Italy and Austria, incorporating rare archival footage.

Dr Robert Finaly spoke after the screening


February 2017 -   "Ameer Got His Gun"

Produced by Saar Yogev, Directed by Naomi Levari, Written by Naomi Levari & Saar Yogev

Ameer is about to enlist in the army. As opposed to the majority of eighteen-‎year-old boys in Israel, for whom army service is mandatory, Ameer is exempt ‎from military service under the assumption that his enlistment may endanger ‎Israel’s security. That is because Ameer is a Muslim Arab.‎
All alone, he sets out on a journey of civic and self-definition, while carefully ‎navigating the thin line between Jewish and Arab societies.‎
Ameer, an eternal optimist, wishes to be both a proud Arab and an ‎enthusiastic Israeli, while his only enemy is reality.‎

One of the writers, Naomi or Saar, will speak with us after the screening


Documentary Moroccan-born Muslim filmmaker Kamal Hachkar explores the 2000-year-old Mellah (Jewish quarter) in his family’s village of Tinghir, Morocco, and follows the trail of the town’s once substantial Jewish population to its émigrés and descendants in Israel. In the film, he weaves back and forth between his city’s old Jewish quarter and Israel, where he meets Sephardic Jews who still hold tight to their Moroccan identity.

A fascinating, inquisitive, and deeply humanist work that presents the true story of a long term collaboration between Jews and Muslims that eventually fell apart. As Hachkar tries to understand exactly what happened, he simultaneously seeks a better way forward.
Director Kamal Hachkar spoke after the screening

2016 season

December 2016     ‎'Open Heart'       Directed by Gad Aisen

Ami Shinfeld was a young boy from an ultra-Orthodox family in Bnei Brak who managed to fulfill his dream and become a top cardiac surgeon at Sheba Hospital. A few years ago, when the town of Sderot came under missile fire, Dr. Shinfeld decided to help its residents. Since then, he’s volunteered as a community doctor, helping his patients receive public care on par with private medicine.

He may clash with the bureaucracy of the public medicine system, but he refuses to go into private practice, despite all the money it offers. He is saving people’s lives, but he is also giving up his free time.

Now, with the steep financial cost and the burden his work imposes on his family, he is left to wonder whether he should abandon his patients in Sderot and go into private practice.
Director Gad Aisen spoke after the film.

November 2016  "THE JERUSALEM BOXING CLUB"   Written and directed by Helen Yanovsky

For four years, the camera followed life at a Boxing Club located in a bomb shelter in a residential ‎parking lot in Jerusalem. The Club serves a mixture of people, weaving a tapestry of life in ‎Jerusalem. ‎
The movie follows four of the young boxers and club manager Gershon Luxemburg as he ‎pushes them to push themselves, and teaches the importance of always treating opponents with ‎respect. Slowly, personal stories unfold, revealing the complexities of life that Gershon and his ‎protégés have to confront. ‎
A story about growing up, loneliness and intimacy, heartache and hope, and above all, about ‎finding help where it's least expected.‎

The director, Helen Yanovsky, spoke after the film

The film was awarded the Jerusalem Foundation Awards Bernstein Prize and Aliza Shagrir Foundation Grant and it is nominated in the category of debut feature film at the Israeli Documentary Film Competition 2016.

July‎ 2016 -  "‎7 Days in St. Petersburg"   Written and directed by Reuven Brodsky

Liza hasn’t seen her son Leonid, a deserter from the army, in twelve years. Now she is flying to Russia to bring him back to Israel. Her seven days there are critical. Time is limited. Nothing is trivial. And yet, during this short visit, she manages to bridge the emotional gulf that has opened between them, and awakes in Leonid a longing for his family, for Israel. What he refuses to accept is the price that he must pay for returning: a year and a half in military prison. This price seems especially high since just before his mother comes to get him, Leonid meets Natasha, a pretty hairdresser.

It is a ‎poetic, delicate film about the relationship between parent and child, and the nature of ‎dependency between them that is prone to change as time goes by. ‎

The director, Reuven Brodsky, spoke after the film.‎

April ‎2016 - 'CLEMENTINE' directed by Tal Haim Yoffe
A fascinating investigation that mirrors the development of Israel. Shaking his own family ‎tree in this beautifully-crafted documentary, Tal Yoffe discovers a pioneering kibbutznik ‎filmmaker, a Czarist army officer, a Nazi-trained blacksmith, several war heroes and a ‎much-missed father.

Clementine is an intensely personal and fascinating documentary.  Tal and Ravit are ‎expecting their first child; Tal's grandmother is dying of cancer.  These two bookends – ‎birth and death – motivate the filmmaker to search out his family stories, so that he can ‎preserve them for their unborn daughter.  Intertwining the personal and national ‎narratives, and using lots of family photos and much archival footage, he tells the story ‎of his and his wife, back a few gernerations to grandparents and great-grandparents, ‎linking their stories to the history of the Zionist enterprise in Israel. ‎
Director, Tal Haim Yoffe, spoke after the film

March 2016     LOOK AT US NOW MOTHER!‎    A film by Gayle Kirschenbaum

Some years ago, Gayle made a short funny film called My Nose about her mother’s ‎relentless campaign to get her to have a nose job. The reaction was overwhelming from ‎audiences and the media. ‎
Audiences wanted to know how she handled her highly critical mother. After screenings ‎audience members shared their stories. Unexpectedly, she found herself teaching people ‎how she did it by using my “Seven Healing Tools” on how to transform abusive ‎relationships. She soon realized, as a filmmaker who has a huge archive of footage and ‎funny and smart mother who was agreeable, that it was her mission to tell her whole ‎story. The film follows the transformation of her relationship with her mother, traveling across ‎continents and over time.‎

Dr. Batya Ludman, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, spoke after the film.‎

February 2016 - TWILIGHT OF A LIFE - a Belgian/Israeli-produced documentary - won the Best Israeli Film Award at ‎DocAviv International Film Festival - a wonderful story of love, hope, old age, motherhood, ‎care, and above all, the beauty of life.‎
Director, Sylvain Biegeleisen, spoke after the film.‎
Doctors tell Biegeleisen that his 94-year-old mother has just a few weeks to live so he goes to ‎Belgium to spend some time with her. “But my mother decided that the time to pass away has ‎not yet come,” narrates Biegeleisen. With only a camera as a witness between him and his ‎mother, filming with great love around his mother’s bed, the director decides to provide a ‎testimony that proves that old age can be approached without fear, but with humor and ‎fondness.‎
A film full of humor, joy and optimism, even as it dwells on the imminent farewell, “Twilight of a ‎Life” doesn’t only give hope to older people, but to everybody who watches it.‎

The first 2015 screening of the Audrey Goodman Cinema Club took place in February with 'The Green Dumpster Mystery', in April with 'Waves of Memory' , in June with 'Probation Time', in October with 'Mom is not Crazy' and in December with 'The Polgar Variant'.