From Rhinelander to Kenosha, and everywhere in between, Jews have been a part of more than 300 communities across the state of Wisconsin. Chosen Towns tells their story through the voices of nine Jewish families spanning the breadth of the state and 150 years. Whether it is the short-lived Jewish farming experiment in Arpin or the thriving, adaptive community in Wausau, Chosen Towns explores the age-old tension between identity and assimilation by putting you in the shoes of Wisconsin’s Jews.
Chosen Towns was produced by docUWM, a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts' film department that offers students opportunities to produce professional work under the guidance of faculty. Chosen Towns is a partnership between docUWM and the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning's Wisconsin Small Jewish Communities History Project. Students worked for two years in tandem with the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning to research and produce this film. The statewide broadcast of Chosen Towns is presented by Wisconsin and Milwaukee Public Television.
Throughout fall 2008, Wisconsin Public Television, the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning and docUWM presented screenings of Chosen Towns in communities across Wisconsin. Each event featured talkback opportunities to meet the films’ producers and discuss the legacy of Jewish settlement in small-town Wisconsin. The screenings were met with overwhelming support in each of the eight communities visited. More than 180 people attended the Madison screening alone