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Movies And Discussion: How The Toronto Jewish Film Society Has Evolved Since The ‘70s

By Sheila and Alan Shore, Members of the Toronto Jewish Film Society (TJFS)

By Sheila and Alan Shore, Members of the Toronto Jewish Film Society (TJFS) who have been attending monthly film screenings for 38 years (since 1978), as interviewed by Esther Arbeid, Manager of Adults Arts and Culture & the Toronto Jewish Film Society

“We’ve belonged to the Toronto Jewish Film Society since its inception which was in the late 70s. It was in a classroom upstairs at the Lipa Green Building at Sheppard and Bathurst. You had to take an elevator up. There were around 40-50 members then; it was very cozy. We would watch a film that was chosen by the Toronto Jewish Film Society Committee. The chair, Norma Rubin, introduced the special guest speakers and panelists. Everyone present partook in the conversation. Norma Rubin knew her stuff, she researched everything she was showing and had excellent speakers who contextualized a discussion. We were all there because we love movies. The enthusiasm back then was infectious. The TJFS back then got all their movies from the Jewish Public Library, and Avihu Bar El was the projectionist. They had a panel of rabbis from shuls. They showed a few movies, and discussed the pros and cons of each film. They had old Molly Picon Yiddish movies which were charming. We’ve been coming for nearly 40 years. When you moved to the Jackman Hall and Ethel Teitelbaum was the leader, it grew to the hundreds and then got even bigger when you moved to the Al Green Theatre. Last year and this year the movies have been very good, especially the Israeli and other films from around the world. Even though we have come all the way downtown now, we still love the movies you show.”

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