The Adolph & Rose Levis JCC opens its 8th annual Judy Levis Krug Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival (JLKBRJFF) on Saturday, Feb. 10, providing South County audiences with stimulating and thought-provoking films that encourage viewers to expand their awareness and understanding of the Jewish world and to encourage discussion of the diverse perspectives portrayed by the films.
The three-week festival which drew more than 3,000 film enthusiasts in 2023 will return to the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton, the Movies of Delray Theater and the Levis JCC in Boca Raton. Performances run through March 4.
“JLKBRJFF is not merely a film festival—it’s a celebration of Jewish culture, reflecting the dynamic community that supports it,” said Stephanie Owitz, VP of Arts, Culture and Learning at the Levis JCC. “Films have a distinctive ability to share universally resonant stories, and there has never been a more relevant time for us to tell and share these stories.”
One of the country’s largest niche film festivals and a premiere destination for Jewish and international films, JLKBRJFF meticulously cultivates a variety of film genres ranging from comedies and love stories to political and historical dramas. Audiences will also enjoy being treated to special guest appearances and discussions.
The festival held one of its two red carpet events last month at Boca West Country Club with a dinner and the Southeast premiere of “Left Alone Rhapsody: The Musical Memoir of Pianist John Bayless,” a documentary by Stewart M. Schulman. Internationally acclaimed pianist Bayless, who experienced a debilitating stroke that halted his storied career, performed at the event. Playing with just his left hand, he underscored his determination and willpower.
“John Bayless personifies passion and perseverance, and I am honored to call him my friend,” said Nina Rosenzweig, chair of the Screening Committee. “His story and poignant performance left the audience with hope, inspiration and gratitude. We are excited to present this film to our community.”
More than just movies, the multi-access festival connects people to one another, to the community and to a variety of experiences and stories through Jewish and Israeli films and special events.
This notion was endorsed at a recent Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners meeting where Mayor Maria Sachs presented the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC with a proclamation designating Feb.10 through March 4 as the “Eighth Annual Judy Levis Krug Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival Days.” Levis JCC Grand Benefactor Judy Levis Krug and her team were joined by the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission to accept the honor.
The other special event this year, JLKBRJFF’s closing night on Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. in Zinman Hall will feature Yiscah Smith, subject of the documentary “I Was Not Born a Mistake.” Smith, a teacher, spiritual mentor and public speaker, is dedicated to helping people navigate their own personal spiritual journeys.
Transitioning from living as an Orthodox man to embracing her identity as a woman, Yiscah offers insights that encourage authentic living. A Q&A session will follow the showing of the film. General admission is $54.
“We take great pride in being Boca Raton’s original Jewish film festival,” said Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center’s Grand Benefactor Judy Levis Krug. “Through the medium of film, we are not only entertained but educated, allowing us to understand and appreciate the diverse tapestry of our shared heritage. There has never been a more crucial time for us to share the strength that emerges from standing together.”