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Thursday, October 07, 2010

"The Faces of Israel: A Discussion of Marriage, State and Religion"

Went to Temple Concord to see this movie tonight, made by Amy Beth Oppenheimer, who came for the evening.  But instead of the traditional Q&A after the film, she has developed a presentation that involves watching a few segments of the movie and then she leads a discussion.  It was very interesting, and she was very articulate, and I learned a lot.  But at the end, I felt quite dissatisfied.  Partly because I actually wanted to see the movie.  Also, I ended up feeling like she wasn't very respectful of the audience.  She told us that she's given this presentation about 100 times, so she knows exactly how the audience will respond at each point.  She doesn't show us hardly any of the movie, but she makes a point of telling us that even secular Jews in Israel don't think Reform Jews are authentic Jews.  Why even tell us that?  It made me really upset.  Not only because its offensive for any Jew to tell another Jew they don't count.  But especially because the Jews in Israel seem happy to take Reform Jewish money, and let us plants trees for them, and repair their torahs, etc.  As if this wasn't enough, she also insisting on making a point about the need for the Chief Rabbinate, even after audience members noted that the Chief Rabbinate doesn't think we count as Jews, and also pointed out that they don't respect women's right to worship.  I'm glad I went, and I bought the movie to be supportive and so that I can watch in its entirety, but I felt like it could have been a lot better and a lot more satisfying evening.



Blogger amyo said...

Hi Danielle,

I'm sorry you felt dissatisfied by the event. I come from a fairly liberal background myself and - there was such animosity in the room toward Orthodoxy and the religious establishment - that I felt it important to try and express other viewpoints from a more traditional or right-wing perspective just to put them out there.

As for the comment about Reform Judaism and its legitimacy in the eyes of Israelis upsetting you, part of my job as an educator is to explain a situation and the truth even when it is not nice to hear. Otherwise, I wouldn't be engaging with the subject or accurately presenting some of the challenges facing Reform Jews.

As for your last comment about wanting to see the full movie, I hope that you have the chance to do so. However, I was asked to run an educational program by Temple Concord's former program director, Jodi - not to screen the movie with a Q&A, so if there were mismanaged expectations, I was fulfilling the role that was initially asked of me and that may have been inaccurate advertising on the Temple's part.

Lastly, a factual correction: the project was not for my thesis or anything credit-wise in the end. Just a topic that I am passionate about and feel is important. That's all. If you'd like to discuss further, you can e-mail me at director at facesthemovie.com Otherwise, thanks for coming out and showing your support.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Oh my goodness, Amy. I'm so sorry. I never would have written so bluntly if I have imagined you would read my comments. I apologize for the inaccuracies. I think there was a misrepresentation of the program at Concord, which maybe set up some unrealistic expectations. Overall, I found the program interesting and I know others who attended really enjoyed it. Thank you for coming and presenting your movie, which I'm looking forward to watching. And thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comments! Again I apologize for my complete lack of diplomacy.

6:52 PM  

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