Posts Tagged ‘Larry King’

Holocaust Heroes Come Together For Emotional ‘Reunion’

October 19, 2012

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Actor Liev Schreiber, who played partisan Zus Bielski in “Defiance,” provided narration for “The Reunion.” (photo credit: Mitch Braff)

Last November, a family reunion like no other took place in New York.

None of the attendees were actually related, but that didn’t matter. It was an emotional gathering of 55 brothers and sisters in resistance, Jewish partisans who had, as teenagers and young adults, hidden and survived in the forests of Europe and fought the Nazis by sabotaging German army supply lines. They had parted at the end of World War II, and never thought they would see one another again.

These Holocaust survivors were brought together by the Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation (JPEF), a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that produces and disseminates educational materials about Jewish WWII partisans to 6,500 educators around the world.

Mitch Braff, JPEF’s founder and executive director, knew that, given the advanced age of the attendees, this reunion was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. A filmmaker by training, he instinctively perceived that the occasion should be documented in an artful and meaningful way.

“I see things through a filmmaker’s lens, and I knew this would make a great documentary movie,” Braff said.

With the partisans’ spouses, children and grandchildren accompanying them to the gathering, he knew the film, titled “The Reunion,” was an opportunity to show a different side of his organization. “Our other films are heavily history-based,” he said. “But this film shows the partisans in a different light. It emphasizes their families and relationships, and also the legacy they are bequeathing to their grandchildren, the third generation.”

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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Death In The Deep Freeze

December 5, 2011

This post first appeared as “Larry King Plans To Freeze Himself” on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

For some of us, it is difficult to discuss, even with those closest to us, our own mortality. But Larry King isn’t afraid to talk about death — and about what he wants to happen to his body after he’s gone.

Sunday night, King and his wife, Shawn, were seen on “CNN Presents: A Larry King Special: Dinner with the Kings” hosting Conan O’Brien, Tyra Banks, Shaquille O’Neal, Seth MacFarlane, Jack Dorsey, Quincy Jones and Russell Brand for a Wofgang Puck-catered dinner and a no-holds-barred conversation on a variety of subjects. On the menu for genial banter were topics like friendship, insecurities, success, and personal worries. Among those personal worries, death inevitably came up.

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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Larry King Sweetens Chabad’s New Year

October 5, 2011

This post first appeared as “Larry King Headlines Chabad’s Rosh Hashanah Telethon” on The Shmooze blog of the Forward.

Larry King just can’t pass up an opportunity to connect with television audiences. Although he stepped down from hosting “Larry King Live” on CNN last December, King was back on camera a few days before Rosh Hashanah this year to host the 31st annual Chabad “Lechaim To Life” telethon. King’s return engagement netted $4.2 million to support Chabad’s broad network of centers and programs.

When asked why King agreed to return to the spotlight on Chabad’s behalf, he said, “We all have friends and family who’ve fallen upon bitter times, and this Rosh Hashanah it will take more than just ‘an apple in honey’ to bring them a sweet year. So I’m joining to help the thousands of people from all faiths and backgrounds who’ve turned to Chabad in dire need.”

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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.