Jewish Film Festival from March 31-April 10

Though it cannot compare to the senseless loss of human life, art and culture are also often casualties of war. Paintings and sculptures that took years to create – and that were cherished for centuries – can be vaporized in seconds, either accidentally by an errant shell or as a deliberate, sadistic message from conquering soldiers.

There was no doubt of the intentions of the Nazis, who burned the majestic wooden 18th-century synagogue in Gwozdziec, Poland (now part of Ukraine) to the ground. There were another 200 wooden synagogues like it scattered across Poland and Lithuania. All of them were torched. Along with the murdered Jews of Eastern Europe, Hitler wanted to wipe out any evidence they ever existed.

More than six decades after the end of World War II, Massachusetts College of Art professors Rick and Laura Brown decided they wanted to bring the Gwozdziec Synagogue – and its ornate interior
Michelangelo-esque ceiling mural – back to life. The documentary "Raise the Roof," one of nine movies making their New Hampshire premieres this spring in the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival, tells their story.

The festival, from March 31-April 10, includes entries from France, Hungary, Israel, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Movies will be screened statewide in Bedford (Southeast Regional Educational Service Center), Concord (Red River Theatres), Hanover (Dartmouth College), Keene (Keene State College), Manchester (Southern New Hampshire University), Merrimack (Cinemagic) and Portsmouth (The Music Hall Loft).

For ticket information, movie trailers and more, visit NHJewishFilmFestival.org.

Submitted by the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival