children run across a grassy field
Scene from “Fanny’s Journey” (Photo/Menemsha Films)

Gender, smoked fish and more at Carmel Jewish Film Festival

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Gender relations in Israel will be the topic of a panel discussion in Carmel on Saturday, March 10, as part of the Carmel Jewish Film Festival, now underway.

The talk will follow the 7:30 p.m. screening of the Israeli film, “The Women’s Balcony,” a comedy set in an Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem where female congregants clash with a new, more stringent rabbi. Longtime Central Coast Rabbi Leah Novick will discuss the film and related issues with Brandeis Professor Emerita Joyce Antler at the Golden Bough Playhouse.

The annual festival, now in its eighth year, runs through March 24.

On Sunday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m., the well-received Hungarian wartime drama, “1945” will be shown at Lighthouse Cinemas in Pacific Grove.

High drama is also present in the Israeli-Latvian documentary “Operation Wedding,” screening Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at Carmel’s Congregation Beth Israel. The film tells the story of a group of Soviet Jews who attempted to escape the USSR before it opened the doors to emigration. Local Jews from the former Soviet Union will speak afterwards.

On March 17, the festival moves to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey for a 6:30 p.m. screening of “Muhi: Generally Temporary.” The documentary relates the story of a Palestinian boy from Gaza and his grandfather who exist in a state of legal limbo within the Israeli hospital that saved the boy’s life. A reception and panel discussion follow.

On March 18 at 3:30 p.m., also at the institute, is the coming-of-age drama “Fanny’s Journey.” The French-language drama tells of a resourceful young girl leading a band of orphans through Nazi-occupied France.

A program of short films is on tap March 21 at 7 p.m at Congregation Beth Israel, followed by a speaker and dessert reception. Following the last film, “Maydeleh and the Prisoner,” there will be a Q&A with filmmaker Maya Ben Yair and lead actor Milt Kogan.

The festival closes March 24 with a food tasting featuring Jewish and Middle Eastern delicacies, whetting audience appetites for “The Sturgeon Queens,” a documentary about the family behind the famous New York deli, Russ and Daughters.

For tickets and information call 800-838-3006 or visit