As part of our monthly Education Screenings Program, Cinema/Chicago hosted 10 CPS schools at Columbia College Chicago for Paula Eiselt’s documentary 93Queen, centered on the first all-female Hassidic volunteer ambulance corps in New York City. Guest speaker Marianne Novak joined Chicago International Film Festival programmer Sam Flancher for a post-screening Q&A where the students learned more about the Hassidic community – both in New York, as depicted in the film, and locally in Skokie, Illinois.
The students were particularly captivated by the film’s portrayal of feminism, gender roles and challenging societal norms. One student asked the guest speaker, “Why was it so hard for women to become judges in the Orthodox community?” while another simply inquired, “What is feminism?” Marianne Novak’s answers and own experience studying to become a rabbi gave a personal connection and made feminism relatable the students’ lives.
The participating CPS educators and students returned to school with a study guide of discussion questions from which each student will write an essay reflecting on the film and post-screening conversation. Questions for discussion expand on the themes discussed after the screening, asking the students to think further about the value of challenging existing social structures and the status of gender equality today.