With the exception of holiday conflicts and summer break, NH4Israel hosts biweekly talks with refreshments at Manchester’s Temple Israel (TIM) at 6:30PM on alternate Wednesdays. If other venues and weekdays are scheduled, word of the change will be publicized in advance as well as posted on the calendar of events at NH4Israel.org. NH4Israel guest speakers generally address current issues surrounding the state of Israel as well as historical analyses of topics such as the Diaspora, Jew-hatred and the making of Israel.
On March 2nd NH4Israel presented a truly remarkable documentary narrated by the author of the book of the same name, “The Prime Ministers”. The film’s narrator is the late Yehuda Avner, diplomat, advisor, and speechwriter to four Israeli Prime Ministers: Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin. Yehuda Avner was there in the background at history-making moments of Israel and its Prime Ministers.
The documentary takes the audience through some familiar territory of Israel’s continuous fight to stay alive as a nation: the 1948 war; the 1956 war; the 1967 war; the Yom Kippur War; the Intifadas; the Gaza Wars and many far-flung terrorist incidents from Munich to Entebbe in between. The remarkable difference with this documentary is the side stories that are less well known. For example, as Ambassador to the USA, Yitzhak Rabin had more access to Nixon and Kissinger than Israel’s Foreign and Prime Ministers. One of Golda Meir’s first assignments was to return to the USA in 1948 to collect funds to help arm her new struggling nation. And thereafter became the first Israeli Ambassador to Moscow, where she flew in the face of official Soviet policy of atheism for all and set about getting huge numbers of worshippers in attendance at the Moscow’s Grand Synagogue. And she was a secular Jew! It was Golda Meir who started the “Let My People Go”/Free Soviet Jewry movement from her time in Moscow. The documentary is replete with little-know factoids surrounding each Prime Minister that Yehuda Avner advised. If you did not attend the showing with NH4Israel, you may view this documentary at Netflix and Amazon Watch.
On March 16th, NH4Israel viewed and discussed another documentary, “Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front”, which follows the lives of 5 young Israelis from before their induction into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) throughout their basic training and assignment as bona fide soldiers. One can say that it is a coming of age story – how each grew by undergoing a demanding and inspirational transformation from adolescence into a team of learning mutual dependence in to achieve a military mission. One particularly inspiring story within the larger narrative was the financial support the team gave to one of its own who, as the young Ethiopian-Israeli breadwinner for his family, faced a nearly impossible situation to continue as the “man of the house” while earning the pay of a recruit. His fellow paratrooper recruits came to his aid with “flying colors”.
Although you may have missed the ambiance of viewing and discussing “Beneath the Helmet” with NH4Israel, you might consider making popcorn and sit down to enjoy this movie in your living room. It is available on demand at Netflix or for $2.99 at http://films.jerusalemu.org/
More lectures and other educational films on Israel are planned for the 2016 season. Find out more and sign up for email updates at NH4Israel.org.