Dark nights, warm homes.

Daylight saving has ended, and we are heading towards June solstice, which marks the point at which the days get longer. But there’s still a good few weeks til we reach that point, where long dark nights stretch out before us.

So the challenge is to find ways to fill those hours.

DVDs come to mind as a means of watching interesting stories. The upcoming DOCEDGE Film Festival in Auckland (23 May – 4th June) and Wellington (9th – 20th May) features three Jewish films of interest. (Click on the link to access the DocEdge page)

Ben Gurion

Sponsored by The Embassy of Israel, this documentary shows footage from 1968 of an interview with Ben Gurion. His lifetime spanning the establishment of Israel, provides fascinating insights of this critical time.

So if the movie inspires you, we have several books on Ben Gurion, and a DVDs that looks at Israel’s establishment.

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Oslo Diaries

The establishment of Israel has not been smooth sailing, and attempts over the years have been made to secure peace for Israel. The most famous in recent times was the Oslo Accords under President Clinton. This film examines the processes surrounding this agreement, and its consequences.

We have several books and a DVD that deal with the issue of peace in the Middle East.

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Steven Spielberg

This documentary closes the DocEdge Festival, casting a critical eye over Spielberg’s life and works. His most famous work is of course Shindler’s List, which lead to the creation of the Shoah Foundation, and the effort to document and videotape survivors.

Naturally enough we have the DVD of the movie, plus a DVD documentary about the List survivors, and a book which tells the stories of the survivors in their own words.

Recently at a special 25th Anniversary screening of Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg suggested

“… that every public high school in the United States should be required to teach the Holocaust.”

and later on commented that at the Oscars,

“[when Schindler’s List won Best Director and Best Picture,] “that night wasn’t really a celebration at all… I don’t feel this movie is a celebration. The subject matter and the impact the film had on all of us … took sort of the celebration out of that.” Rather, he said then during his acceptance speech, “I pleaded with the teachers to please teach this in your schools. I said that’s the most urgent thing you could do – you need to teach this story.”

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Term 2 will start on Sunday 6th of May and run each Sunday until 1st of July.

There are two days that won’t have classes:

20/05/2018 Shavuot

03/06/2018 Queens Birthday long weekend

In total there will be 7 lessons.

Term One was a fantastic term for children, and you will have noticed their confidence about Hebrew speaking, writing or reading has improved. We look forward to continuing your child(s) learning experience here at Auckland Hebrew School.

If you have not done so, please email the school  to register your child(ren) or to ask questions.


Holocaust Centre of NZ  will be screening here at RFL a fascinating documentary, Holocaust Escape Tunnel. This movie features an archaeologist from NZ, Alastair McClymont (here he talks on RNZ about the documentary), and gives us an insight to how modern techniques such as radar imagery are helping uncover the terrible secrets of the Shoah.

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 If we have time, and people are interested, I’ll follow this documentary with another documentary – Partisans of Vilna.

“An enormously riveting and inspirational tale of WWII and the Holocaust,  Partisans of Vilna chronicles the amazing endeavors of the Jewish resistance fighters. Highly acclaimed during its theatrical run, the film has been described as “a stirring, extremely honest and heart rending celebration” ( New York Magazine).Co-written by director Josh Waletzky ( Image Before My Eyes) and producer Aviva Kempner ,Partisans of Vilna skillfully blends songs, newsreels and rare archival footage dating from 1939-44 and contemporary interviews with forty partisan survivors (including Abba Kovner, a founder of the partisan movement and one of Israel’s leading poets).

The film explores the difficulties of organizing under the anarchic conditions of the ghetto in Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. Recounting how a commando unit was formed under tremendous risk to conduct sabotage missions against the Nazis, the film explores the moral dilemmas facing the Jewish youth who organized an underground resistance in the Vilna ghetto, and fought as partisans in the woods against the Third Reich. More than just a record of great historical importance, Partisans of Vilna is an intensely stirring and uplifting commemoration of heroes during the darkest of times.”


Who went to LIMMUD 2017? I did, and I had a fantastic time! One talk left a big impression on me; “Re-reading Parshat Emor – Thinking Differently about Judaism and Disability”, by Melinda Jones from Victoria, Australia.

Her take on the text helps me view this DVD with fresh eyes; Mayor of the West Side, about a young man with Downs Syndrome, and his preparations for his Bar Mitzvah.

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There were many other sessions that I really enjoyed, so I’m really looking forward to attending LIMMUD 2018!

The organisers are running a wee ‘Taste of LIMMUD’  June event here in Auckland and Wellington, where you can get a taste for the kind of presenters LIMMUD are securing, and register for LIMMUD 2018, August 25th and 26th, at early bird prices. Keep an eye out for emails and join their FB page to know what the programme will be for this year – there will be something for most people!

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The Wellington event is the following day, Thursday 7th June, 6.30pm for a 7pm start, at WJCC, Webb Street, Te Aro.

Well, that’s about it. I’ve been busy branching out into working more broadly in the community, but as always, the Library will be at the heart of me, so if you need a book to read, or want to come in a browse, feel free!

And because I can I will –

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(from this rather interesting blog:  https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/ratners-cheese-blintzes/)Wishing you all a blessed shabbos, and a peaceful weekend.

Raye Freedman Library and Community Centre.