HAZAK Film & Discussion with Sam Feinberg
Wednesday, May 17 at 7 PM
"In the sheltering darkness of the long evenings, they were together in the cold and gloomy attic of a barrack, close under the roof. There they stood, pressed close to each other, to hear a talk about the Bible and the Talmud, about Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides, about Descartes and Spinoza, about Locke and Hume and Kant or about days and problems of history, about poetry and art and music, about Palestine of old and today, about the Commandments, the Prophets, and the Messianic idea. All those hours were hours in which a community arose out of the mass and the narrowness grew wide. They were hours of freedom. This is our film." ~ Rabbi Leo Baeck
Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film, highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp during World War II: the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant, young Czech conductor who was arrested and sent to Terezín in 1941. Determined to sustain courage and hope for his fellow prisoners, he recruited 150 prisoners and taught them Verdi's Requiem by rote in a dank cellar using a single score, over multiple rehearsals, and after grueling days of forced labor.
With testimony provided by surviving members of Schächter's choir, soaring concert footage, cinematic dramatizations, and evocative animation, this unique film explores the singers' view of the Verdi as a work of defiance and resistance against the Nazis. The text of the Requiem Mass enabled them, as Schächter told the chorus, to "sing to the Nazis what they could not say to them."
HAZAK programs are planned for our seniors (age 55+) and are geared to both reflect common interests and get us to “stretch” to try new activities as well. Our well-attended book group meets monthly all year long on the third Wednesday morning of the month. HAZAK also sponsors book talks by local authors, including GJC members, as well as speakers on topics of particular importance to our interests. We host Sam Feinberg each August to discuss opera, and we show great films!
We take day trips to cultural and natural sites in the area, often to places members have never been (like the Philadelphia Waterworks and Chanticleer Gardens), and plan tours to institutions such as the Kimmel Center and Academy of Music. HAZAK is for all of us to stay connected to GJC and to each other: to venture out and experience parts of our city we haven't seen before, to read, learn and talk together, to keep us strong. We hope you will join us!