Center for Israel Studies Begins an International Film Project

The Israelite Samaritans Project Has Begun

This international research project of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies (CIS) will culminate in a major Hebrew language documentary, a travelling exhibition developed with Yeshiva University Museum, conferences, commentaries, courses and student field work with the Samaritans.

The first two events of this international collaboration will take place at the University this November.

Benyamim Tsedeka
Benyamim Tsedeka

On Tuesday, November 13, at 8 p.m., Benyamim Tsedeka, director of A-B Center for Samaritan Studies in Holon, Israel, will speak on the history and traditions of the Samaritans in Gottesman Library, where he will speak about the traditions of these descendants of the northern tribes of Israel and their connection to manuscripts housed in the library’s Special Collections.

“Benyamim is a true marvel,” said Dr. Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History and director of the CIS.  “His commitment to sharing the inner life of his people is inspiring. I am thrilled to welcome him back to our campus.”

Tsedaka’s lecture will be filmed for a forthcoming  documentary on the Samaritans by Moshe Alafi, a widely regarded Israeli filmmaker and producer of our forthcoming documentary.  This project is a centerpiece of the YU Israelite Samaritan Project of the CIS, produced in partnership with the New Fund for Cinema and Television and funded by the Leon Charney Legacy Fund for Israel Studies.

Moshe Alafi
Moshe Alafi

While on campus, Alafi will offer programs about his work and career choices.

On Monday, November 12, at 4:30 p.m., the day before the filming, Alafi will discuss “Film and the Public Interpretation of Jewish History” in Furst Hall 305. He will explore the complexities of creating meaningful historical documentaries to complement historical site visits, screening recently unveiled site specific productions.

On Wednesday, November 14, the day after the filming, Alafi will meet with students of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at noon to speak about “How I Became a Jewish Filmmaker.” He will show clips of his works and discuss how his yeshiva and film training inform his work.

“CIS is incredibly excited that Alafi will be filming and speaking at YU,” said Dr. Fine.  “I am ecstatic that we are creating a full-length documentary about the Samaritans. This is Torah uMadda at the cutting edge!”

Alafi’s work ranges from Naf, Child of the Street (2012) to his recently installed audiovisual productions at the Burnt House in Jerusalem and Mount Gerizim National Park.  He is a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion and teaches at the Maaleh School of Film and Television in Jerusalem

The CIS is committed to exploring “Israel in all of its complexity.” These events are being co-sponsored by the Gottesman Library, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and the Yeshiva University Museum.