Side Dishes: A Night of Shorts At The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival

Feb 27, 2014

Fay Tenenbaum knows what you want: cake.

No one can count how many she’s baked in her 90 years, and she has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.

Now, a short film about her, titled "The Cake Lady," is coming to Charlotte. It’s part of the tenth annual Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, an ambitious and enjoyable series that presents dramas, comedies, and documentaries that illuminate the Jewish experience in the U.S. and around the world.

But back to those cakes. “We all know cake is a sign of a special occasion, one that brings people together to share in the joy of being alive,” explains 25-year-old granddaughter Brittany, whose voice-over introduces the film.

A lifelong baker, Fay earned her nickname when she started bringing pound cakes to her neighborhood fire-fighters in Atlanta, weekly after 9/11. The number delivered to those local heroes has now topped 500. “They don’t get enough pay, and they don’t get enough time off,” she says in the film.

She refuses to accept payment or divulge her recipe. “Either I want to give it to you – or forget about it,” Fay says.

And like all good food stories, hers is a little bittersweet. (No spoilers, but you won’t look at the humble pound cake the same way after you view the film.)

Director Adam Hirsch will attend the Charlotte screening at Shalom Park on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm. There are rumors that the star, Fay Tenenbaum herself, may come from Atlanta, too.

Two other films will fill out the Side Dishes line-up that evening: Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop, which looks back on the basketball star’s days working at a kosher resort in the Catskills; and The Tribe, which depicts the role of Barbie in Jewish culture. A dessert reception will follow.

For more information or to get tickets, visit