Friday January 19 10:28 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership present the Film "Body and Soul: an American Bridge"

02/11/2018 - 14:00
02/11/2018 - 16:00

Body and Soul: An American Bridge – CHICAGO PREMIERE
Directed by Robert Philipson
Trailer and additional info HERE

Synopsis: Of all the cross-cultural encounters in American popular music, none has been as complex as that between African Americans and American Jews. Teasing out the strands of this musical knot, this film explores the jazz standard Body and Soul, by Jewish composer Johnny Green and performed by artists from Louis Armstrong to Amy Winehouse.

Special guest Orbert Davis, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, will share both his musical knowledge and his trumpet playing to “discuss” Body and Soul. Davis is a master trumpeter, Emmy-winning conductor, and gifted composer, recording artist, and educator. A leader in Chicago’s arts and culture community, he has been called one of the “most admired Jazz artists” by Arts Critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune and a “Chicagoan of the Year” by Chicago Magazine. In 2011, Davis was named Artist-In-Residence for the Chicago Jazz Festival, an honor held by only one other Chicagoan in its history. He has played key roles in film and television, including serving as consultant to Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes for the feature film Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. His latest album release, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Havana Blue, is the result of an extraordinary residency with Cuba’s Universidad de las Artes (ISA). He hosts “The Real Deal with Orbert Davis,” a weekly three-hour program airing on WDCB-FM.

Exploring the theme of “Jews and Music,” Sunday Cinema will feature the Chicago Premiere of Body and Soul: An American Bridge (Best Music Documentary, San Francisco Black Film Festival) about how the jazz standard "Body and Soul" smashed the color barrier in popular music; the Midwest Premiere of On the Banks of the Tigris (Best Documentary, Baghdad International Film Festival), a musical odyssey that uncovers the hidden—and nearly erased—Jewish connection to Iraqi music; and the Midwest Premiere of Mandala Beats, which had its World Premiere earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival and features a musical—and personal—road trip through India with Israeli bassist Yossi Fine.

Each Sunday Cinema screening will be followed by a post-film discussion led by a guest speaker related to the film or its subject. All films are shown in Spertus Institute’s state-of-the-art Feinberg Theater (610 S Michigan Ave). General admission tickets are $18, $8 for students. Tickets are available online at

“Sunday Cinema furthers Spertus Institute’s mission to present Jewish arts and culture as vehicles to foster understanding of both Jewish and universal experiences.” says Beth Schenker, Assistant Dean for Jewish Studies and Programming Director for Sunday Cinema. “This year, we looked for films that broaden our knowledge of the Jewish influence on music with a special focus on films Chicago audiences wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to see.”

Sunday Cinema is sponsored by the Wilkow Family. It is the 2018 Solomon Goldman Program Series.


Sunday, February 18; 2:00 p.m.
Directed by Rebekah Reiko
Trailer and additional info HERE

Synopsis: Known as the Jimi Hendrix of bass guitar, Israeli Yossi Fine has made music with artists from across the globe. Learning of his grandmother’s Indian roots, he journeys to India to explore new sounds and collaborations. He discovers a world of Jewish music and performs with musicians including Shye Ben Tzur and Gil Ron Shama.

Ethnomusicologist Dr. Inna Naroditskaya will introduce Mandela Beats and lead a post-screening Q&A with the audience. Naroditskaya is a Professor at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. A pianist from Azerbaijan, she came to the U.S. as a refugee with her then-four-year-old son. Naroditskaya has since completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan, published books on the music of Russia and the Middle East, been the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Scholarly Residency and a Senior Fellowship at Harvard, and written on music, politics, and gender for the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Times of Israel, and Huffington Post.

On the Banks of the Tigris – MIDWEST PREMIERE
Sunday, February 25; 2:00 p.m.
Directed by Marsha Emerman
Trailer and additional info HERE

Synopsis: Can music transcend religion and politics? Meet Majid Shokor, an Iraqi-Australian from a Muslim background who discovers a hidden history—the Jewish role in Iraqi music. Shokor journeys from Australia to Israel, Europe, and Iraq, to meet exiled Iraqi musicians and unite them in a concert at London’s Barbican Centre.

Dr. Shayna Silverstein will introduce On the Banks of the Tigris and lead a post-screening Q&A. Silverstein is an Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her research examines politics, culture, and performance in the contemporary Middle East. Previously a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Penn Humanities Forum, Silverstein received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership (610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago) offers dynamic learning opportunities rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and is open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs—including films, exhibits, speakers, seminars, workshops, and concerts—take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

Spertus Institute is a partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.