January is a busy month for the Humanistic Jewish Havurah

The Humanistic Jewish Havurah of Southwest Florida begins the 2016 year on Sunday, January 10 with a first-run play by Gulfshore Playhouse at the Norris Center in downtown Naples. Informed Consent, by playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer, was inspired by a recent court case between a Native American Tribe and Arizona State University. The play takes us into the personal and national debate about science v. belief, and whether our DNA is our destiny.

We have purchased a block of tickets so the price is $57 for a seat in the center section. On this date, Gulfshore Playhouse provides a pre-performance discussion beginning at 2:15 p.m. Then, following the matinee, playgoers are invited to join Havurah members for dinner in a private room at Shula’s Steak House at the Hilton Naples on US 41. To secure your theater ticket, mail a check, payable to HJH, to Joan Weinstein, P.O. Box 110285, Naples, FL 34110. Payment must be received by January 6. For more information, contact Dena Sklaroff at 239.591.0101.

We have another exciting event on the January calendar. On Sunday, January 17, the Havurah will view a fascinating documentary, Another Road Home, by award-winning documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Danae Elon. The meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. in the David G. Willens Community Room at the Jewish Federation of Collier County office, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 2201, Naples. A discussion will follow the screening, providing an opportunity for everyone to share their reactions to this most unusual and touching story.

Due to space limitations, reservations are required, so contact Dena Sklaroff to assure your seat.

Shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, Danae Elon’s parents, noted Israeli author Amos Elon, and former correspondent and literary agent Beth Elon, hired a Palestinian man named Musa, the father of eleven children, to take care of their six-month-old daughter on a daily basis. It was a job he would continue for the next twenty years until she was grown and he was able to save enough money to send all eight of his sons to America for education and career opportunities. The last time Danae saw Musa, in 1991, he proudly showed her the house he constructed in the Palestinian village of Battir. Then, against the mounting tensions of the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Intifada, the two families lost track of each other.

During that time, Danae began to realize how much of an influence Musa had on her life and sought to reconnect with him. Her quest led her from her home in New York to Patterson, New Jersey, then to Battir in the occupied territories, and back to her birthplace in Jerusalem. As they carefully break the silence, the encounters between Danae and Musa’s sons, and eventually Musa himself, bring to the surface an emotionally complex story that is ultimately heartwarming and optimistic.

To quote critic Sheri Linden in the Hollywood Reporter, “Another Road Home is a work of powerful humanism that could unsettle entrenched points of view. Danae Elon strips away the dogma and charged emotions that enmesh most discussions of the Middle East. Musa, a compelling screen presence, a figure of supreme equanimity… emerges as an Old World patriarch in the noblest sense. Elon makes the complexities of the relationship as clear as the profound love. Bottom line: Deeply moving.”

This film received a Sundance grant and was praised as one of the most honest and sensitive films ever made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It premiered at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival and showcased in over 20 international film festivals. We encourage your attendance.