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Residents of Village Apartments in South Orange Get a Different Look at Marriage and Relationships with Film Screening and Discussion

Caryn Starr-Gates

Saturday, December 7, 2013 • 9:11am

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J., December 5, 2013 – Residents of the Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation, a senior living community in South Orange, enjoyed a lively discussion following a screening of the documentary, “Two’s a Crowd,” which highlights the unorthodox marriage arrangement of a Manhattan couple. The pair decides to live apart until, after a rent increase, the husband moves into his wife’s tiny rent-controlled apartment to save money. The seniors who attended the film screening then discussed the differences between traditional concepts of marriage versus alternative ways some couples share their lives today.

 The program was sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) as part of its NCJW Film Festival. The discussion was facilitated by Ellen Barocas, a member of the organization and the vice president of the board of trustees of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC); the JCHC is the non-profit organization that owns and manages four senior living communities in Essex and Morris counties, including Village Apartments. Barocas also presented the program at the JCHC’s Jewish Federation Plaza in West Orange. The JCHC offers monthly cultural, educational, and social programs for its residents that foster an engaged and active lifestyle.

 According to Barocas, the NCJW selects films of social relevance that are written and/or produced by women or are about women. She felt the unusual lifestyle showcased in “Two’s a Crowd” would generate some thought-provoking conversation among the seniors who watched it and she was right.

 “Initally, the group could not understand the arrangement the couple in the film had,” Barocas said. “As we delved deeper into the topic, they came to the consensus that even though they do not relate to it, one should not be judgmental about how others choose to live, particularly in regard to their children and grandchildren. It was a very open discussion that led to greater tolerance of cultural changes in our society.” Barocas said that taking the film festival to senior communities is part of the NJCW’s community outreach.

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