As more than 200 major funders of Jewish nonprofits gathered in Phoenix this week, most of the signs of the economic carnage of the past 18 months appeared to be waning.
Leigh's physician father and midwife mother met through Habonim, the Labor Zionist youth movement, in 1936. Mike Leigh, in turn, became a Habonim leader and traveled with the group to Israel on a ship as a teenager. The experience had a dramatic effect on his future work as an artist: "The atmosphere was one of chevrah, of sharing, openness and coming together -- of making things happen by colluding -- which describes the spirit of how I work with actors and the atmosphere of my rehearsals."
Of course, this is a gross oversimplification that does an injustice to both Zohar and Millo, but in essence, the remarkable and swift victory of Israeli forces in 1967 tore a veil of insecurity off the standard cinematic discourse around issues of Zionism and personal self-sacrifice and gave the nation's filmmakers the right to a certain heroic panache without-guilt. It was a sunny day that lasted only a short while, ended by the storms of the Yom Kippur War a mere six years later, but it was quite real.
I spent most of this past week at the United Jewish Communities (UJC) General Assembly (GA), the annual gathering which, this year, brought nearly 4,000 Jewish communal representatives (and journalists) from North America, Israel and elsewhere overseas.