The Ciesla Foundation is excited to announce that Aviva Kempner’s newest film, Rosenwald, formerly called The Rosenwald Schools, had a preview at the Washington Jewish Film Festival that she started twenty five years ago on February 25th at the Avalon Theatre in Washington, DC..
Before the screening, Carole Zawatsky, CEO of the DCJCC, and William “Bro” Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Kempner delivered brief statements. Rosenwald was a huge success and received a standing ovation from the audience in the completely packed house.
In the audience was Max Cutler, who is 23 years old. He was very impressed with the Julius Rosenwald story and emailed his comments about the film.
“He perfectly embodies the Jewish ideals I was raised to believe are important. He didn’t just change lives. America as we know it today is a direct result of what he did because of the influence he had on blacks. Like the person who invented preservation techniques for blood marrow. Everyone should see it. What he did with his life is exactly how I would want to live my life. The fact that he did it with little recognition speaks more to the values he embodies and why he did it. Not for the recognition. He really just is what an ideal Jew should be. It re-affirms what I believe and gives me a goal to strive towards.”
After the screening, both Kempner and civil rights activist Julian Bond, an interviewee and a consultant to the film, gave brief statements. She explained how she had heard Bond speak about Julius Rosenwald at an event at the Hebrew Center at Martha’s Vineyard years ago. That talk inspired her to make a film about the philanthropist.
Bond told a story in which his father was once driving in the south when his car suddenly got stuck in a hole filled with mud. Julian’s father assumed that someone had put the mud there just so they could charge him money to be pulled out. Two black men came out from behind the bushes and noticed that he was wearing nice clothes and was driving a nice car. When they asked whom Julian’s father was working for, he replied, “I work for the Rosenwald Fund”. The men responded, “Oh, you work for Captain Julius? There’ll be no charge”.
Overall, the premiere was a huge success and The Ciesla Foundation wishes to thank all those who contributed to and supported the making of the film.
Final music for the film is still being composed and arrangements are being made to obtain the footage and stills for the film. You can go to http://www.rosenwaldschoolsfilm.org/donate.php.