The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Jewish Studies Center and BLS department examine complexities of Jewish identity in new film series

Screenshot from Periphery

Baruch College’s Sandra K Wasserman Jewish Studies Center and the Black and Latino Studies department displayed a virtual screening of the short film “Periphery” on Feb. 8.

The film, directed by Sara Yacobi-Harris, introduces 12 individuals who present a distinct aspect of their identity and experience. “Periphery” aims to show that being Jewish goes beyond being part of a religion; rather, it is a manifold tapestry of culture, characteristics, tradition, sexuality and ethno-racial identity.

Following the screening, Yacobi-Harris engaged in a talkback where she discussed the film and answered students’ questions.

One attendee strongly resonated with the film’s message. “[All] along, I wasn’t that different than the rest of the family,” they said. “Each part of me is dear, why should I have or choose [or lose] one part [of me]? Jews of all shades became an inconvenient truth but a Jew just being white is nothing short of a lie.”

Fábio Sena Sanfer, one of the film’s subjects, is a gay Jew who came from Brazil to Canada.

He said the move was a “very negative experience.” One student asked Yacobi-Harris how queerness intersects with Jewishness.

In response to the question, Yacobi-Harris explained it as “something that [she] invited into the conversation of wanting people to feel emboldened to bring all aspects of who they are.”

Given the film’s examination of identity, numerous students asked how the concept of a homeland can change when a person has a mixed-race Jewish identity and if these complex identities challenge an allegiance to Israel.

“I think that these categories of the radicalized experience versus a non-radicalized experience is already putting them in an opposition to each other, and I think that it does a disservice to the realities of the ethnic groups in Israel as well as in Palestine,” Yacobi-Harris said.

Yacobi-Harris’s film appears to favor a more nuanced view of relevant issues and acknowledges the complexities of identity and allegiance.

The screening is part of WJSC and BLS’ “Black and Jews: Together and Apart” film series. The selection aims to explore Jewish and Black solidarity, as well as the ethnic diversity within the Jewish community.

Other films in the program include “BlackKKKlansman,” “Salzwedel Concentration Camp Reunion: A Liberator and Survivors Speak” and “Looking for Roots, Finding Flowers.”

On March 13, WJSC will hold an in-person panel with numerous figures, including journalist and Baruch distinguished lecturer Ralph Blumenthal and former New York Times art director Steven Heller. They will discuss the contributions of German-Jewish pilots during World War I.

It will showcase a virtual screening of “I Shall Not Be Silent” on March 19 with director Rachel Eskin Fisher and Baruch professor Jamel Hudson.

On April 17, WJSC will host a daylong conference on antisemitism at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. It will also present a virtual Holocaust Remembrance Day poetry event on May 6.

“Periphery” is now available to watch online.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Ticker

Comments (0)

All The Ticker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *