Free event!

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In conjunction with the World Premiere of Oren Rudavsky and Joseph Dorman’s documentary film The Zionist Idea, we present a panel discussion about this crucial topic with the filmmakers and experts on the subject.


Richard Peña was the program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 to 2002. A frequent lecturer on a wide variety of film topics, he is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema, and from 2006 to 2009 was a Visiting Professor in Spanish at Princeton University. He is also currently the co-host of Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.


Joseph Dorman is a Peabody Award winning documentary filmmaker and co-director of The Zionist Idea. His previous films include Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011), the Academy Award-nominated Arguing the World (1998), and co-authored the the script for The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Journey (2001), which was named the best documentary of 2001 by the National Board of Review. He teaches film history at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Jeremy Kalmanofsky has served as rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side, since 2001. Prior to this he served as assistant dean of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received rabbinic ordination in 1997. He is a member of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and the editorial board of the journal Conservative Judaism. He serves as a board member at the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing.

Oren Rudavsky is a New York-based filmmaker and former Guggenheim Fellow, and co-director of The Zionist Idea. In 2006, he completed his first feature film The Treatment, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the award for Best Film, Made in New York. His previous film, the non-fiction feature Hiding and Seeking (2004) was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and broadcast on the PBS series POV. His 1997 Academy Award-nominated A Life Apart: Hasidism in America received an Emmy nomination for its national PBS release in 1998.

Said Zeedani is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Al-Quds University, where he specializes in ethics, aesthetics and human rights. He served as Director General of the Independent Palestinian Commission for Citizens’ Rights from 2000 to 2004 and has published widely on Arab-Jewish relations. He speaks about the topic in the film The Zionist Idea.

Yael Zerubavel has published extensively in the area of Israeli collective memory and identity, national myths, war and trauma, Hebrew literature and film. She is the author of Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 1995), and is currently completing a book entitled Desert in the Promised Land: Nationalism, Politics, and Symbolic Landscapes. She is also working on another book project on the representations of the Bible and the performance of Antiquity in contemporary Israeli popular culture.