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Citizen Film Presents: An Evening with Sholem Aleichem

Date: Thursday, May 5 | Time: 7:30 pm | Tickets: $10 | Location: Berkeley Branch

A fun evening of film, community storytelling, and lively theatrical readings celebrating the life and work of Sholem Aleichem, the most popular Jewish writer of his day, creator of Tevye (of Fiddler on the Roof fame) and many other richly drawn characters. His close relationship with readers was similar to popular bloggers and their readers today, and his characters and themes remain etched in the American-Jewish psyche.

To mark Sholem Aleichem’s Yahrzeit –the 100th anniversary of his death- we present a special selection of film clips about and inspired by his life and work. A short film by Citizen Film’s Sam Ball kicks off the evening, celebrating the importance of modern Yiddish literature from the point of view of Yiddish Book Center founder Aaron Lansky, followed by two selections from Joe Dorman’s Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, interspersed with lively, participatory activities honoring the author’s last request, that his work be read out loud on his Yahrzeit. All ages welcome!

“Select one of my stories, one of the really joyous ones, and read it aloud… and let my name be mentioned … with laughter rather than not be mentioned at all.” Sholem Aleichem [1916]


Potsdam Revisited: Overture to the Cold War

Date: Thursday, February 18 | Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm | Tickets: $14 | Location: Berkeley Branch

Artists-in-Residence Citizen Film are multimedia documentarians guided by the belief that well-crafted stories can provide audiences with a powerful means for engaging with culture and community. Citizen Film’s work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art – New York, LA County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn, the Whitney, and more.

This film screening and live performance will transport you to an extraordinary moment of intersection between history and music. There’s also a screening of “The Rifleman’s Violin,” a documentary directed by Citizen Film’s Sam Ball and produced by Abraham D. Sofaer.

Potsdam Revisited tells the story of Stuart Canin, a young Jewish GI from the Bronx, who in 1945 played a private concert for the Big Three – Truman, Stalin and Churchill as they prepared to negotiate the post-WWII fate of the world. Mr. Canin eventually became a renowned violinist and concertmaster of orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera, and his music is featured in films such as Schindler’s List, Titanic and Forrest Gump.

The screening will be followed by a performance by Mr. Canin recreating his concert for the Big Three, as well as a discussion with Canin and the filmmakers about their collaboration with the Hoover Institution on the Stuart Canin living history archive. 

Details at

Photo Credit: "The Rifleman's Violin" directed by Sam Ball, Copyright Citizen Film 2015.