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
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
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!