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Cultural Arts & Education Overview


Self-expression is at the heart of Jewish life and values.  Arts and culture play a unique role in conveying Jewish values and traditions from generation to generation.  The benefits and impact of arts and culture on our community are immeasurable.  The JCC of Greater Ann Arbor's Jewish Cultural Arts and Education department offers a wide variety of offerings, including film, music, adult education, lectures, and art. These programs enrich not only our Jewish community but also the community-at-large.  Our entertaining events build bridges between and among diverse religious and ethnic communities.  And they reflect Jewish values and culture, heritage and traditions to audiences of all ages. 

Jewish Book Festival
For over 20 years, the JCC has hosted a Jewish Book Festival in November.  The Book Festival offers a unique opportunity to hear from many talented authors on a variety of subjects during weekday Lunch & Learn events, evening events, and on Sundays throughout the multi-day festival at the JCC.  Events are free and open to the public.  The Book Festival is supported by many local community organizations and businesses, including the Fred and Ned Shure Endowment. 

Jewish Film Festival 
Each April, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, in association with the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit and the Michigan Theater, brings the Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival to Ann Arbor. This popular community event showcases a variety of  films over five days at the Michigan Theater on East Liberty.  Speakers and special events are a festival highlight.  The Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival is made possible thanks to the Michael and Patricia Levine Philanthropic Foundation, Charles and Rita Gelman, the Ann and Jules Doneson Film Festival Endowment Fund, and the Michigan Theater.  


Film Discussion Group 
The Film Discussion Group meets monthly and is led by Russell Collins, Executive Director of the Michigan Theater and co-host of WEMU’s Cinema Chat.  Discussions cover not only movie plots and characters but also the unique cinematic elements that send subtle messages to viewers. The film selection includes popular blockbusters, independent films, thought-provoking dramas, intense thrillers, and more.  

Art Exhibits 

JCC schedules a variety of art exhibits and programs throughout the year in the Amster Gallery. They may include individual exhibits by local artists, traveling exhibits and exhibits arranged by JCC staff such as the Senior Photography Exhibit which is scheduled for February and March. There is often programming planned in coordination with these exhibits such as:  docent tours, talks by the artists and/or audio visual presentations.     


Gelman Video Collection
Through the generous support of Charles and Rita Gelman, the DVDs and tapes of the Jewish Heritage Video Collection (JHVC) are available for rental from the JCC.  The JHVC was created to explore the heritage of American Jews through the unique resources of film and television.  The JHVC video library contains more than 200 film and television programs carefully chosen for both quality and relevance.  Many of the DVDs and tapes are not generally available in video stores. This important collection is continuously maintained and updated by Charles and Rita Gelman. 


For more information, please contact Karen Freedland at or 971-0990.