Studying Israeli Society Through Its Cinema

April 25 Event Pays Tribute to Late Hebrew Language Professor Rivka Weiner z”l

On April 25, Yeshiva University students on the Israel Henry Beren Campus gathered to learn about the evolution of Israeli culture through the lens of its cinema during a presentation from Dr. Eric Goldman, adjunct professor of cinema at YU.

The clips that were shown depicted footage from as early as the 1940s to recent films. What was perhaps most interesting, though, was Dr. Goldman’s interwoven explanations of the underlying themes hidden behind the moving picture. These themes included tensions between Northern African Jews trying to share a young state with their European brothers and the desire to build up a homeland. Further, he highlighted the context of the films which portrayed the struggle between individual right and the antiwar movement against the communal responsibilities of a growing Israeli state.

Professor Rivka Weiner

“The program was wonderful,” said Reena Wasserstein ’20S. “It was both informative and interesting, striking the perfect balance between giving context of life in Israel across the decades and showing very interesting movies.”

The event was organized to celebrate the memory of Professor Rivka Weiner z”l, a beloved member of the Hebrew language department at Stern College for Women. “It was evident that Professor Weiner was near and dear to both YU students and faculty,” said Elensarrah Dolgopolskaia ’20S, a feeling Dr. Goldman echoed as he explained that unlike many American films, Israeli films aren’t centered around heroes, nor focused on celebrated supernatural abilities, but rather the tension that exists between remembering the past and the choice to move forward.

This article was contributed by Esther Stern, a student at Stern College for Women.