Film & Panel Discussion | Code Name: Ayalon

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Wednesday, May 8th
5:00pm ET Doors | 6:00 pm ET Screening | 7:00pm ET Panel Discussion

Live at the Weitzman
*$13 | $10 Weitzman Members

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Under the code name “the Ayalon Institute,” a group of teenagers from the Hatzofim Aleph Scout movement and members of the Haganah built an underground munitions factory in 1947 that secretly manufactured and then smuggled ammunition needed during Israel’s War of Independence. Now celebrating its 75th anniversary, the documentary, Code Name: Ayalon, explores stories of the teenagers and young adults who worked in this secret factory and contributed to Israel’s establishment as an independent state. Interviews with the last surviving factory workers and commentary from noted historian Deborah Lipstadt, recount this clandestine mission. 

After the screening, join us for a panel discussion exploring the film’s creation, as well as how the history of Israel’s statehood influences American Jewish identity. Panelists include:

  • Eszter Kutas – Executive Director, Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation
  • Laurel Fairworth – Executive Producer, Code Name: Ayalon
  • Arnon Degani – Fellow, Molad: Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy; Visiting Fellow, Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania

*Nobody should be turned away for lack of funds- email if cost is prohibitive.

More About the Panelists

Eszter Kutas is an accomplished nonprofit professional and lawyer. Eszter became PHRF’s Executive Director after serving as the project lead and acting director for two years through her employer Fairmount Ventures, a consulting firm serving the nonprofit and public sectors in Philadelphia.

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Eszter is the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors. Her commitment to the Holocaust Memorial project is both personal and professional; as staff attorney at The Claims Conference, Eszter oversaw the administration of a $1.25 Billion fund established by a consortium of Swiss Banks and supported the assessment of more than 80,000 Holocaust restitution claims across international borders.

Eszter has served as a senior advisor and chief of staff, program developer, fundraiser, and project manager at Philabundance, the Philadelphia region’s largest hunger-relief organization, and was the project planner and lead manager for the nation’s first nonprofit grocery store to address food inequality and access in urban food deserts. Eszter is the Vice Chair of the Parkway Council Foundation.

Eszter earned her J.D. at the University of Eotvos Lorand in Hungary and her LL.M. at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 


Laurel Fairworth is a twenty-year broadcast journalist.  She appeared on-camera in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Tennessee.  She distinguished herself with Emmy award nominations for in-depth reporting, spot news reporting and features. For twelve years following, Fairworth produced news segments for NBC’s Today Show, Nightly News, CNBC, and MSNBC.

Fairworth discovered the story about Israel’s most prolific and covert bullet factory on a trip to the Holy Land. Right then and there she vowed to make a documentary about its heroic workers, The movie Code Name: Ayalon was completed February 2020 and is now being broadcast on PBS/public television stations across the country. Fairworth is now working on a docuseries tentatively called Blews about the partnership between Blacks and Jews in music, sports, and civil rights. Fairworth has been an Adjunct Professor at Temple’s Annenberg School of Journalism, teaching an advanced electronic (TV) broadcasting class and was a Lion of Judea at the Jewish Federation, Women’s Philanthropy, and on the board or involved with the Jewish Business Network, the March of Dimes and Fashion Group International.

Fairworth is currently the President of Cachet Communications, a Public Relations, Marketing and Media Company. She has expertise in creating and implementing special events, publicity, social media, and branding.  She has represented a diverse list of clients including: The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, (GPTMC), Lagos Jewelers (Philadelphia Flyers), Sheldon’s Crossings (Philadelphia 76ers), Independence Visitor Center (IVC), Drexel University, Nicole Miller Fashions NY, the Ronald McDonald House (NY, Chicago, Philadelphia, and LA), Variety the Children’s Charity, the Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show, South Jersey Healthcare Network. Artificial Intelligence company Kognition and financial powerhouse Morgan Stanley.


Arnon Degani is a fellow at the Harman Center for Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University and a research fellow at Molad, the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy. He is currently teaching an introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Lehigh University.

Degani is a UCLA-trained historian of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who is working on a book on the Integration of Palestinian Arabs into Israeli society. He is the writer and host of “Hesket Oslo,” a podcast about the Oslo peace process, currently being developed into an English version titled “Still Processing.” He has published several historically informed op-eds and essays about Zionism, the Palestinians, and the conflict between the two.


Live at The Weitzman
101 South Independence Mall East (Corner of 5th & Market)
Philadelphia, PA 19106


This program is co-presented by The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish, and WHYY.