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Chicago filmmaker working in Jerusalem
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

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JERUSALEM—Filmmaker Ronit Bezalel of Chicago spent two months here this year, visiting family that lives here and volunteering at the Jerusalem Open House (JOH), the local version of Center on Halsted in Chicago.

"I just wanted something to do while I was here, so I reached out to the Jerusalem Open House," she said.

Bezalel, who lives in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, worked here as a development intern/volunteer. Part of her work includes helping JOH officials prepare for a spring fundraising tour in California, including researching grants, inputting data and more.

She spends three days per week working at JOH.

"It's fun, I really like it. I really like the people here, the mission of the organization," said Bezalel, who is Jewish and an out lesbian/queer. "I hope to get a greater understand into Jerusalem's LGBTQ culture," while in Jerusalem.

"The JOH means a lot to the people who are here. For the population [in Jerusalem], I feel this is a life-saver. I just think JOH is a really important thing, an important location.

"Even though Jerusalem is a really conservative city, the queer people are not. I feel the LGBT community here could fit in in Chicago because I feel the people are current, up-to-date on the issues."

When she returns to Chicago, Bezalel will put the final touches on an upcoming, 60-minute documentary about Cabrini Green. She is a co-director of the movie with Brenda Schumacher, also of Chicago.

The movie is called Mixing It Up, and Bezalel calls it "intense."

Visit to read more LGBTA-related items regarding writer Ross Forman's recent trip to Israel. Also be sure to read his piece on page 38 of this issue about running the Jerusalem Marathon.

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