The Mamboniks


In Partnership with Feinstein Center for American Jewish History

Sunday, November 17, 2019
7 PM @ National Museum of American Jewish History

Buy Tickets Here

General Admission: $15 | Seniors: $13 | *Students: $6

*Because student ID is required, tickets may only be purchased in-person.

Director: Lex Gillespie
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: USA
Year: 2019
Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
Language: English

Board Sponsored by: Elaine Levitt; Daniel and Cathy Kaufman; Nancy and Ben Shein

Philadelphia Premiere
When ‘Mambo Judie’ talks about her wedding day, she wells up with pride. “Tito Puente played at my wedding,” she can’t help brag. And how about fellow mambonik, Marvin “Marvano” Jaye’s recollections of 1959 Havana? He might just have Judy beat with the spectacle of having witnessed the world’s greatest mambo dancers perform on stage while the bombs of Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries echoed in the streets.

During the 1950s, free-spirited, mostly Jewish and Puerto Rican dancers from New York City fell head over heels for the mambo, a hot new dance craze from Havana. Out in the club, busting a move to sensuous Latin rhythms and infectious mambo beats, they called themselves the mamboniks. Directed by Peabody Award winner Lex Gillespie, THE MAMBONIKS tells the surprising and little-known story of two cultures, Jewish and Latin, meeting on the dance floor at a time when America was still racially segregated and anti-Semitism was commonplace. By weaving together archival footage of the mambo’s 1950s origins with scenes from a much-anticipated mamboniks reunion in Florida, this upbeat and heartwarming documentary pays tribute to a retired group of Jewish mambo fanatics as they relive and regale the story of how they found a place of acceptance and excitement within a fiery dance.

Stop by early at 6:15 PM and enjoy live music by Orquesta Caché and complimentary mojitos by Cooper Spirits!

Special Guest: Robert Bernberg, Esquire | Co-founder of Siempre Salsa Philly


Official Selection:

  • Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival
  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival
  • Washington Jewish Film Festival