Friday January 19 10:16 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership present the Film "Mandala Beats"

02/18/2018 - 14:00
02/18/2018 - 16:00
Mandala Beats.jpg

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.

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.


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.