What Makes A Place Feel Like A Home?


CUJF invites you to celebrate Sukkot with us by exploring the question “What makes a place feel like a home?”

October 4 - October 8 
Online Screening of the Award-Winning Film


And the Alley She Whitewashed in Light Blue (Israel)


October 8 @ 12:00 pm (CST)

Live Zoom Q&A meeting with the Director Nili Portugali and commentary by Professor of Architecture Benjamim Bross




At a time of existential threat to the physical and human environment we live in, architect Nili Portugali takes us on a deeply intimate journey to the Galilean ‘Kaballa’ holy city of Tzfat in Israel. AND THE ALLEY SHE WHITEWASHED IN LIGHT BLUE is a childhood journey that unfolds gradually from her present holistic/Buddhist/scientific point of view to address two questions: What is the secret of all the great timeless buildings of the past, villages, tents and temples endowed with beauty and soul in which humans feel “at home”?, and What is the essential “art of making” that creates them in all cultures, places and times? Portugali’s quest centers on the birthplace and hometown of her family since the early 19th century, where her grandmother founded a hotel in a small stone building around a patio at the end of an alley in the old city. It’s a journey through time and memory.


This film covers a variety of topics related to Jewish culture and heritage, architecture, art, as well as holistic philosophy.  The movie has been screened worldwide including a premiere at the Mumbai International Film festival, the International Art Film Festival in Israel, and the Lima International Film festival where it won first prize.



Nili Portugali is a well-known practicing architect, senior lecturer, researcher and published author. Her multidisciplinary work both in practice and theory is closely connected to the holistic-phenomenological school of thought. The film is her third of creative Trilogy following the buildings she designed and the published books she wrote.


She is 7th generation descendant of a family living in the holy 'Kabbala' city of Tzfat, Israel since the early 19th century. She was a senior lecturer at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion, Haifa. She is a Guest Lecturer at MIT, Harvard, Carleton University, Oxford University, TU Stuttgart; TU Dresden; TU Delft, Tsinghua University China.


Her first book, The Act of Creation and The Spirit of a Place, A Holistic-Phenomenological Approach to Architecture was listed in the books of the year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (R.I.B.A).




Benjamin Bross is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at UIUC. A native of Mexico, Professor Bross studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University where he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees respectively. He also holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design from University of California, Berkeley, and a Doctorate degree in History from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico D.F.  His areas of expertise include architecture and urban development design and history, sustainable practices in building, land use planning, real estate development, and large-scale architectural projects.

Free access to the movie and Zoom meeting will be sent after registration.