Opening night of the Mandel JCC Cleveland Jewish FilmFest is always a big scene and a place to be seen. With lines forming around Shaker Square on Sept. 4, a sellout crowd was there to see the first offering, “The Unorthodox.” Chaired by film fanatics Beth Robbins and Susan Wasserman, with help from a large committee of movie buffs, the film fest celebrated its 13th year of presenting captivating Jewish-themed films to Cleveland audiences. According to Robbins, “The film fest compels audience members to come and be challenged, and be part of the community.” Festival-goers were treated to free popcorn and soda as they made their way into one of the theaters screening the movie. After the showing of the politically based film, Emma Dvorkin remarked, “We had no clue about this part of Israeli life. It was very educational.” That, of course, may be the goal of the film fest – to laugh a little, cry a little and learn a whole lot. In the theater lobby, there was much discussion of the premise of the film, which movies to see next week and ultimately, how to choose a flavor from the many selections of Mitchell’s Ice Cream before heading home.

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