Our Mission & Vision

As one of the longest-running Jewish film festivals in the country and Philadelphia’s first film festival, the mission of the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (GPJFF) is to educate and engage diverse Philadelphia communities, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, by presenting world-class film premieres, repertory cinema, and associated programs that are inspired by Jewish history, heritage, and values.

Our vision is to create shared experiences and connections through film and cultural programs inspired by Jewish legacy and values.

December 3, 1981 – April 25, 1982, the FIRST year of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival!

Our History

In 1875, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) was established in Philadelphia in response to the critical need to create a Jewish community center that represented a haven and resource for Jewish immigrants.

[GPJFF] created a community of safety, acceptance, camaraderie, and social services and served as a center for education & culture.

In 1924, the YMHA merged with the Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA) to become the first organization in the nation designed for men and women’s joint use and purpose. That same year, a brick and mortar home was built at the corner of Broad and Pine Streets in Center City where it remained the primary location of the community center for over 94 years.

The organization was a pioneer in recognizing the need to strengthen the roles of both men and women in Jewish life. It created a community of safety, acceptance, camaraderie, and social services and served as a center for education and culture. Through the years, the organization provided cutting-edge programming in the arts, athletic activities, and pre-school education.

Chronology of GPJFF