"Watermarks" is a life-affirming documentary that celebrates the constancy of courage and grace, from youth to old age.
Its setting is the waltz-loving Austria of the 1920s and '30s, where the lithe young swimmers of the fabled Hakoah ("the strength") Vienna sports club are beating their "Aryan" rival clubs year after year.
Freestyler Judith Deutsch alone breaks 12 national records in 1935 and is the toast of the town, until she refuses to compete for Austria at Hitler's 1936 Olympic Games. As punishment, she is barred from competition for life and all her marks are erased from the official record books.
After the Reich's takeover of Austria in 1938, the swimmers scatter to Palestine, the United States and England, marry and establish professional careers.
Some 65 years later, Israeli director Yaron Zilberman decided to track down eight of the swimmers, now in their 80s, in their adopted countries.
Joe Jacobi's pain as he prepares for the Olympics is more emotional than physical.
The canoeist/kayaker, 34, told JTA by e-mail that as he prepares for the Olympics in Athens, he misses his 3-year-old daughter, Seu Jane -- named for the Spanish village that hosted some rowing competitions in the 1992 Summer Games -- who is at home with his wife in Tennessee.
The pursuit of an Olympic medal usually conjures up a youthful single-mindedness, but like Jacobi, many of the 15 Jewish athletes competing for the U.S. team at the Athens Games are veteran athletes who competed in previous Olympics.
In a sea of competitors, 17-year-old Ilya Gurevich of Israel is alone in the field of theoretical physics. All the other teenagers competing in the physics division at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair have entered projects in practical physics, Gurevich said, but he stuck with the theoretical.
"The world's largest science fair," formerly known as the Westinghouse Competition, is taking place at multiple locations May 9-15, including the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.