I met Aviva Kempner years ago in her Washington, DC home, when she had already made documentaries for over 20 years. When we met again, about two weeks ago, at Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts, she was still making them. She was researching archival materials and screening Ben Hecht’s The Front Page, in preparation for a documentary about the famed screenwriter, activist, fierce supporter of Israel, and author of Perfidy. The focus of her visit, though, was the screening of A Pocketful of Miracles: A Tale of Two Siblings, her newest film, at two venues–Manhattan’s New Plaza Cinema and the JCC of the Upper West Side. The film was doubly screened on March 17- at a matinee at the Museum of the Jewish Heritage and in the evening at New Plaza.

The upcoming Hecht film aligns with the genre that has brought Kempner international critical acclaim, both within and outside the Jewish world. She wants to showcase unsung Jewish heroes. And so, each of her six documentaries is dedicated to another hero. How and when did Kempner determine that this would be her life purpose? Read More