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by Susan Turetsky
     Approximately 100 members registered for the weekend, and checked into La Posada de Albuquerque in anticipation of an event to remember ˇand it was! A wonderfully stocked hospitality room, hosted by Jordon Mellen, a new member (who jumped right in and volunteered), greeted everyone upon their arrival. Society officers made a few opening remarks preceding a fabulous buffet dinner at the hotel. Doral Hoffberg and Margrethe Feldman did an outstanding job of orchestrating the many delicious meals throughout the weekend. After dinner we all headed over to the historic KiMo Theatre to see the first of five films: The Chosen, directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan. It was a superb film, and many of us felt as though we had seen it for the first time, because on this occasion we saw it through the eyes of the director. It was an artistic masterpieceˇvisual poetry!
    After the movie, many members headed back to the hospitality room to exchange ideas and thoughts about the film.
     Saturday morning two powerful films were screened dealing with the crypto-Jewish experience in Portugal. The Last Marranos was a moving documentary about the present-day Portuguese descendants of Jews forced to convert to Catholicism in the fifteenth century. The film portrayed certain members of this proud new generation, filled with information handed down orally from one generation to the next. One individual referred to Moses as ýSt. Mosesţ, and expressed the belief that he was born on Christmas Day!! What an opportunity for us to visit with these people of Belmonte, Portugal!
     A fifteen-minute break was all that separated us from the next very gripping dramatic film, O Judeo (The Jew). This compelling film brought the Portuguese Inquisition and all of its horror to life. It was truly an incredible time in history. Although it was difficult to watch, it made us so aware of another aspect of our Judaic history.
      After a two-hour lunch break (what a relief), we reconvened for a screening of GentlemanÝs Agreement, featuring Celeste Holm. This 51-year-old film was the first motion picture to address openly the topic of anti-Semitism in the United States. Ms. Holm introduced the film, answered questions, and could not have been more animated and charming.
      Quick! Back to the hospitality room for more coffee and conversation. It was a delight to get to know so many more friends.
      The banquet Saturday night was magnificent. The tables were exquisitely done in a black-and-white theme. Each table had a huge glittering star as a centerpiece. The wait staff hovered attentively, and the food was delicious. Ms. Holm spoke with great candor about her childhood, as well as her memories and experiences in the production of GentlemanÝs Agreement. She was real, generous and forthcoming. We all felt so fortunate to have her join us for this important weekend.
      Sunday morning was such fun! Murray Glass, film historian from Los Angeles, regaled us with a composite of old Jewish comedians. What better way to wind up the weekend than to laugh with Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplin, Burns and Allen, and others.
      Brunch was delicious. At long last, we do believe, we have found the best lox in New Mexico! Celeste Holm joined us for brunch. She, too, didnÝt want to miss out on any of the fun.
      Thanks to all the benefactors, volunteers, and to Mr. Joseph Dispenza, our Film Fiesta coordinator. This was a truly memorable weekendˇone of the best!


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