Film Screening of Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities, Q&A with Director and Guests

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Stiteler Hall, Room B6, 208 S. 37th Street, Philadelphia

Invitation to a screening of Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities


Followed by a Q&A with the Director, Aviva Kemper, and special guests, Rabbi Arthur Waskow (Founder and Director of The Shalom Center), and Mr. John Jordan (Community Relations Chairperson of the Pennsylvania State NAACP). 

Introduced by Herman Beavers, Professor of English and Africana Studies; and Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages (Yiddish); and the Ruth Meltzer Director of the Jewish Studies Program.

5:30pm Reception in Silverstein Forum in Stiteler Hall 
6-8pm  Screening and Q&A in Stiteler Hall, Room B6

RSVP HERE: rosenwaldupenn

Hosted by the Department of Africana Studies, Center for Africana Studies, the Jewish Studies Program, and PB&J (Penn Black and Jewish Dialogues).


Co-Sponsors: Penn Hillel, Penn NAACP, Penn Black Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, The David Project, Tzedek Social Justice, Penn Cinema Studies


Written, produced, and directed by award-winning Aviva Kempner, this film presents a pivotal Jewish and African-American partnership. Julius Rosenwald was the son of German-Jewish immigrants who rose to become one of the wealthiest men in America as well as a beloved humanitarian. He helped found Sears, Roebuck and Co. and led the company from 1908 to 1932. Influenced by the social gospel espoused by Rabbi Emil Hirsch of Chicago Sinai Congregation, Rosenwald used his great wealth and talent for leadership to try to fix what he viewed as wrong with the world, at first helping Chicago’s 100,000 impoverished Jewish immigrants. Later, when approached by African American educator, Booker T. Washington, Rosenwald helped fund a program of self-help for African-American southerners that emphasized economic advancement through vocational education. He established 25 YMCA-YWCAs to serve African-Americans in cities across the U.S. His greatest accomplishment was the establishment of challenge grants, seeded for the creation of more than 5,500 schools for African-American children in the rural South at a time when few received any public education. From 1915 to 1932, 660,000 African-American students benefited from an initiative that truly speaks to The American Dream. The story of the partnership between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington is perhaps the most compelling one of our time.


Q&A SPEAKERS: Aviva Kempner (Director, Producer, and Writer of "Rosenwald"), John Jordan (Philadelphia NAACP), Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center). 


Aviva Kempner has been making independent films since 1979. She founded and directs the Ciesla Foundation, a non-profit organization that produces documentaries investigating non-stereotypcal images of Jews in history. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the DC Mayor's Art Award, WIFV Women of Vision Award and Media Arts Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.  


John Jordan serves as the Community Relations Chairperson of the Pennsylvania State NAACP. He is also a Consultant and provides Strategic Management Solutions to Businesses and Non Profits. In addition to his experience in finance, John dedicates much of his time doing advocacy work. In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania to serve as a Commissioner on the Governors Advisory Commission on Diversity Affairs. He also was appointed to the National Voting Rights Commission by the Obama Administration for his work in Pennsylvania protecting voting rights. He lives by the motto "Never look down on a man unless you are picking him up."


Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D. founded and directs the Shalom Center, which brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, healing the earth, and celebating community. He has worked since 1969 for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and was among those invited by the White House to take part in the signing of the Declaration of Principles by Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat in 1993. Also, in 1969, he wrote the Freedom Seder. His dissertation on "The Race Riots of 1919" was incorporated in the book "From Race Riot to Sit-in, 1919 and the 1960's: A Study in the Connections between Conflict and Violence". He was named by the United Nations as "Wisdom Keeper" and has received awards from the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement of Philadelphia and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.


Rosenwald Website (and trailer):

Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax /