PROVIDENCE – The Arts Emanu-El Committee at Temple Emanu-El is excited to present a three-part program, “Light in the Midst of Darkness,” highlighting Jewish resistance and resilience during the Holocaust.
The program, the week of March 2-9, will include the Rhode Island premiere of a powerful documentary film about partisan resistance, with a discussion by the filmmaker; a communal song circle; and a concert focusing on the importance of a mandolin at Auschwitz.
The first event, the Rhode Island premiere of the award-winning documentary film “Four Winters,” will take place on Saturday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion period led by Julia Mintz, the film’s director, writer and producer. Mintz will also give a d’var Torah on her work during Shabbat services that morning.
“Four Winters” tells the story of the more than 25,000 courageous Jewish partisans who fought back against the Nazis and their collaborators from deep inside the forests of Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Belarus during World War II.
Over the course of the nearly 10 years it took to create the film, Mintz tracked down the last of the survivors, conducted interviews, and gathered stunning photos and archival footage. Shattering the myth of Jewish passivity, these last surviving partisans tell their stories of resistance, revealing stunning heroism, determination and resilience.
For a brief preview of this stirring film, go to https://fourwintersfilm.com/trailer.
The second event, a song circle called “Communal Sing to Bring Forth Light,” will take place on Thursday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and join in songs and prayers highlighting light, hope and resilience in the face of adversity. No musical experience is necessary.
The circle will be led by a group of dedicated temple members, who will teach the songs in both Hebrew and English. There will also be opportunities to share experiences, strength and hope from both personal and collective Jewish experiences.
The third event, a concert by Duo Mantar called “Rachel’s Mandolin,” will take place on Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. The music focuses on the touching story of Rachela Zelmanowicz-Olewski, a Jewish mandolin player from Poland who, as a young woman, played in the Auschwitz women’s orchestra under the famous violinist and conductor Alma Rose. Her story details a heroic survival in Auschwitz through the power of her mandolin music.
Zelmanowicz-Olewski was later liberated, from Bergen-Belsen, and went on to raise a family in Israel. The concert is about her personally and about the untold story of the mandolin during the Holocaust.
Duo Mantar is comprised of two virtuosi: American classical guitarist Adam Levin and Israeli mandolinist Jacob Reuven. Attendees will have a chance to meet the musicians after their performance.
Refreshments will be served after the film and concert. Ticket prices vary, and may be purchased in advance, by Wednesday, Feb. 28, at www.teprov.org/arts/lightinthemidstofdarkness.html. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
For more information, contact the Temple Emanu-El office at 401-331-1616.
ARLENE S. SIMON is a member of the Arts Emanu-El Committee at Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.