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CineCulture screens ‘Menashe’

CineCulture, in collaboration with Jewish studies, held a screening of “Menashe” to expose students to the Hasidic Jewish culture that persists in South Brooklyn.

Dr. Ed EmanuEl, a host who filled in for director Joshua Weinstein, discussed the century-old community of Hasidim in New York City about which many people know nothing.

“They are a culture within a culture and are able to live in a free and democratic country like this and practice their religion very honestly and freely,” EmanuEl said.

EmanuEl explained that “a man cannot raise his child alone” in Hasidic Jewish culture, so Menashe, the main character, struggles because he’s not ready to find a wife in order to keep his son, Reiven (Ruben Niborski).

CineCulture’s movie screening was held last Friday in the Peter’s Auditorium.

EmanuEl said one significant feature of the movie was the Yiddish language, which, he said, is considered “bastardized German” by many scholars.

“This is the first film done in 70 years that is all in Yiddish,” EmanuEl said. “Nobody’s fluent in Yiddish.”

Mary Husain, the director of CineCulture, said CineCulture’s purpose is to “create bridges of cultural understanding through dialogue.”

Jessica Muniz said she didn’t know anything about the Hasidic religion and as a Catholic coming from a Hispanic family, she said certain similarities stood out to her.  

“The gentleman that was talking at the end said that ‘women are powerful,’ so for women to take care of their children and maintain the home is similar to the aspect in my Hispanic family,” Muniz said. “At the end of the day, the woman maintains the home for everybody.”

Muniz would recommend “Menashe” to her friends because it encouraged her to seek new perspectives at school and from friends.

“It’s really great to see the very diverse community that comes out [to these events],” Muniz said. “Certain people get really involved when it comes to questions and answers. It hits them personally.”

CineCulture will screen “Evolution of Organic” on Dec. 1. Husain said it is about the history of the organic farming movement in the United States, and features several Valley farmers.

For more information about CineCulture and the fall lineup, you can go to https://cineculture.csufresno.edu/.