PJFF Film: “Shalom Italia”

Directed by Tamar Tal Anati (the award-winning director of “Life in Stills”), “Shalom Italia” is filled with humor, food and Tuscan landscapes. This charming and poignant documentary, in Hebrew and Italian with English subtitles, straddles the boundary between history and myth — both equally pivotal in forming our individual and collective identities.

During World War II, Emmanuel, Andrea and Bubi, three Italian Jewish brothers, spent several of their formative years hiding in a man-made cave built by their father in the Tuscan mountains while the Nazis occupied Italy. Seventy years later, Bubi, the youngest of the trio, gathers his brothers for an unforgettable family reunion in the hopes of rediscovering the mysterious cave that saved their family from being deported to the camps.

Retracing their steps and their intimate experiences during the war, the brothers, now as different as can be, bond and deliberate over the veracity of their memories, sharing hearty conversations and equally robust Italian meals along the way. From early morning breakfasts to a late night Shabbas feast, the food of their homeland evolves into the centerpiece of Bubi, Andrea and Emmanuel’s adventures through Tuscany. Facing the limitations of their imperfect memories and the physical setbacks of their aging bodies, the brothers resolve to accomplish their goal, come mozzarella or prosciutto! Joking and arguing aside, these kindred spirits spend countless hours trekking through the thick Tuscan forest to create a new memory, one that will serve as the basis for a brotherly bond that will remain for the rest of their lives.

Guest Speakers: Post-film Skype interview with Andreas Anati and Ruben Anati, two actors in the film, as well as with Tamar Tal Anati, the film’s director

Special Event: Film followed by discussion, as well as by an Italian brunch organized by Gran Caffe L’Aquila and inspired by the cuisine featured in the film (dessert and wine included with ticket)

Buy tickets here.

Italians Fall in Love With Jewish Goose Salami

— by Daniela Enriquez

One of Italy’s newest culinary trends is coming from an unexpected source: the country’s Jewish heritage.

The Cantone family, which has been producing goose salami for more than 40 years, wrote in its website that the connection between the area of Lomellina, Italy and the sausage is dating back to the 11th century.

Today, Italian goose salami is becoming much more popular, and even has a group of aficionados.

An Italian journalist and visiting scholar at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in Washington, D.C., Daniel Moro, said that “Italian goose salami is better than the meat from France.”

More after the jump.
For the last three years, The Brunoldi Ceci Association organized an annual “Jewish Style Lunch” in Lomellina to showcase the trend, with the help of other institutions, such as the Order of the Frog and Goose Salami of Lomellina.

In the latest event, last November, the attendance more than doubled compared to the previous year: about 100 participants, 80% of whom non-Jews. Except for Moro, the president of the Jewish Agency in Italy, Claudia De Benedetti, was also present.

This event is part of the “Traditions and Traces of Jewish Cuisine” initiative, which focuses on the strong link between Northern Italy, in particular the area between Milan and Turin, and the tradition of making goose salami.

Locals showed strong interest in this tradition, as they have finally discovered the origin of the “Jewish Pork,” which they have been eating for centuries.

The Brunoldi Ceci Association’s spokesperson, Gianluca Cominetti, said, “We owe the success of our initiative to the strong link that exists between Jewish cuisine and our land.”

Following the pattern of the past two events, everything about the lunch was “goose based,” with dishes made of geese exclusively from the Lomellina area:

Synagogue of Casale Monferrato.

The lunch began with an appetizer of goose liver and salami. A goose and bean risotto constituted the first dish, and stewed goose with polenta was served as the second.

The meal was accompanied by kosher Italian wines: Bonarda Croatina, Bonarda Donelasco and Barbera del Monferrato Kasher.

Topping off the meal was the traditional Krumiri, a biscotti home-made by the Rossi-Portinaro family since 1878.

The event was concluded with a guided tour of the Synagogue of Casale Monferrato.

Moro said that “plans for exporting these kosher products to the U.S., in particular goose salami, are in the works. In fact, Italy already exports kosher Italian wines and biscotti to the New World.”

The Secret Jews of Calabria

— by Ronit Treatman

Carl Perkal, a documentary film producer who made aliyah in 1973, is working on the documentary The Secret Jews of Calabria. He writes:

Many of the Italians living in Calabria (Southern Italy) have Jewish roots going back to the Inquisition. When an American rabbi of Italian descent, Barbara Aiello, returns to her ancestral village in Calabria to encourage the locals to discover their Jewish heritage, not everyone (Jews and Christians) welcomes her.

More after the jump.
His one-hour documentary film is currently in production. He is seeking co-production and distribution agreements, and foundation or private support to complete the film.

The Secret Jews of Calabria is the first of a series.  The next film The Secret Jews of the American Southwest will be funded with Kickstarter.

An Olympic Hope: Israeli Para-olympian Moran Samuel Does It All

According to Ami Eden:

Israeli para-athlete Moran Samuel won an international rowing competition in Gavirate, Italy. The organizers weren’t expecting her to win, so they hadn’t bothered to secure a recording of the Israeli national anthem, “Hatkivah.” When Samuel found out there would be no anthem played when she was on the podium, she asked for the mic and started singing herself.

UN Commemorates Racist Durban Racism Conference

— Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International condemns the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. That event, in Durban, South Africa, was a forum overshadowed by rabid anti-Israel sentiment and deserves to be remembered as embodying the worst aspects of the United Nations.

The vote results included 104 nations in favor of the resolution, 22 against, and 33 abstentions.

B’nai B’rith International commends those nations voting against the commemoration: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Particularly disappointing was the near unanimous bloc of Latin American nations voting in favor of the resolution.

More after the jump.
The proposal to celebrate the original Durban conference has been championed by Arab and other largely non-democratic states, many with records characterized by mistreatment of minorities that have used their collective numbers to push through many anti-Israel resolutions at the world body. Though it is now only in its early planning stages, the Durban commemoration has been scheduled for a time when world leaders are expected in New York in September 2011, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is tragic that more nations don’t publicly recognize and condemn Durban as the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish free-for-all it truly was,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Our delegates joined other non-governmental organizations in walking out of the conference in 2000 and again during Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel diatribe during the 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The prospects for anything positive to take place at a 10-year commemoration are no better.”

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, with its Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), implied that Israel alone is a racist nation. Even worse than the U.N. proceedings were the NGO forum and street scenes that saw horrific expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

“The original Durban conference attempted to validate the perverse theory that Zionism is racism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Durban’s legacy of hate, intolerance, and double standards should never be forgotten, and should certainly never be celebrated.”

Following the proposal to commemorate Durban, Canada was the first country to unequivocally state it would not attend such an event. B’nai B’rith is calling on all countries not to participate in “Durban III.”