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September 8, 2017  RSS feed

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Star Event to spotlight Nancy Spielberg

Nancy Spielberg Nancy Spielberg Documentary filmmaker Nancy Spielberg will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual Franci Golman Rudolph Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood Star Event on Monday, Oct. 23 at the Renaissance Hotel in Tampa.

The youngest of the four siblings, producer Nancy Spielberg grew up immersed in filmmaking, working on the early films of her acclaimed brother, Steven, as cast and crew.

Even though she’s been around the business for most of her life, taking a lead role in filmmaking is relatively new for her. According to Spielberg, “I was intimidated to go out there publicly and possibly fail publicly, but the stories resonated so much that they pushed away the fear.”

Spielberg attended Arizona State University and UCLA and, after moving to New York in 1978, studied film at Sarah Lawrence College and the New School in New York. She is an accomplished businesswoman, fundraiser, and philanthropist and is founder or co-founder of several charities including “A Bid for Charity,” “Children of Chernobyl,” “Project Sunshine,” and the American branch of The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.

In recent years, Spielberg has turned her energy and talents to producing documentary films. She served as consultant on the 2003 Oscar-winning documentary, Chernobyl Heart. In 2008, she produced a project for the Israeli government, Celebrities Salute Israel’s 60th, which was featured in Times Square on the NASDAQ screens for one month. Spielberg was also executive producer of Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, which aired nationally on PBS in 2011.

According to Spielberg, “The role of the sibling is to stay family, to be there for each other, not to have an agenda.” However, that family affiliation changed a bit when Nancy Spielberg began doing production work and first showed her Acadamy Award winning brother the rough cut of Above and Beyond, her 2014 film about U.S. airmen volunteering to help fight in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. She was more than a little nervous to hear what he thought. She stated, “I knew that if he said he hates it, I’m in trouble. Given that he’s the expert, anyone who has the chance to show their work to Steven Spielberg should take his advice. Luckily, he loved it.” She said that he came into their mother’s restaurant and told his kid sister that the movie made him cry. In fact, he liked it so much that he told her he would recommend it to the Cannes Film Festival where he sat on the jury. Her production of Above and Beyond subsequently won the audience award at more than 20 film festivals in 2015.

In addition, Spielberg was the executive producer of Sophie Sartain’s documentary, Mimi and Dona, which was broadcast nationally on PBS in late 2015. She was also one of the producers of On The Map, the 2016 documentary by filmmaker Dani Menkin, which tells the story of the 1977 underdog Israeli basketball team that triumphed over a series of European basketball powers. She is currently executive producer of Who Will Write Our History, which is now in post-production with a 2018 release planned. This film tells the story of Warsaw Ghetto Jews who wrote and buried their documents and stories into Polish soil before they were killed by the Nazis.

“Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood is thrilled to have Nancy Spielberg speak at this year’s Star Event on her personal experiences growing up in the Spielberg family, the way that her background led her to become a film producer, her recent documentary film productions, and her experiences as a female producer,” said event co-chairs Judith Mish and Sharon Ravner.

The Star Event celebrates the memory of Franci Golman Rudolph, a beloved former Sisterhood president, who also played an integral part in previous Star Events as the emcee of the segment where the Star Event headliner is interviewed in the style of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Franci was dedicated to Tikun Olam, to changing the world, and received wide praise from the Tampa community for her work for various charitable organizations.

As Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood’s major fundraiser, the Franci Golman Rudolph Star Event provides funds for its many projects. These include donations to local, national, and international agencies, such as Tampa Jewish Family Services food bank, the Florida Holocaust Museum, Camp Coleman, URJ’s Emergency Relief Fund for natural disasters, Weinberg Village Jewish Assisted Living Facility, the Women of Reform Judaism’s many worldwide projects through the YES Fund, and the World Union for Progressive Judaism. In addition, the Star Event funds allow the Sisterhood to underwrite salaries for Schaarai Zedek religious school teacher assistants, purchase equipment for the religious school, and donate money to projects of the Schaarai Zedek youth groups.

Open to the community, registration, social hour, and silent auction for the Star Event will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 23, followed by lunch and the program at 11 a.m. Early bird tickets for $75 are available until Oct. 6, after which registrations will begin at $90. Additional sponsorships are being sought ranging from $250 to $5,000. Sponsors of $250 and above will be invited to attend a VIP reception with Nancy Spielberg on Sunday evening prior to the event.

For more information on the event, contact Mish and Ravner at Reservations can be made online at or by check or credit card through the Congregation Schaarai Zedek office at (813) 876-2377 or

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