The Jewish Innovation
We followed Rabbi Menachem Froman, the “settler rabbi for peace,” with our camera for more than five years. He told us with a grin, “I am a resident of the state of…God. It’s not so important who is the government.” His younger proteges, both Israeli and Palestinian, struggled along with him. We saw the love between teacher and students, spending time especially with Nahum, Ziad, and Shaul. We videod the amazing landscapes of the West Bank, the cradle of the Jewish story.
Many days we started in a settlement, then traveled 5 minutes to a neighboring Palestinian village. One of Froman’s students summed up for us, “1-state, 2-state, 3-state, 7-state – no matter what the eventual outcome, it won’t last if there aren’t good relations on the ground.”
After he died early last year, Rav Froman’s students struggled to continue his legacy. Ali Abu Awwad, a very charismatic Palestinian activist, began to work together with Hadassah Froman, his widow. A piece of land was finally found where there could safely be regular meetings between settlers and Palestinians. Rav Froman’s work is bearing fruit.
We want the world to know the hope and courage of Rabbi Froman’s vision. Join us in creating a global community of people who know we can get beyond ideology, left and right. We can create, as Froman said simply, “A good neighborhood.”
Rabbi Froman brought people of all sides together. Even though he was sometimes controversial, when he met someone he disagreed with, his love (and humor) built bridges. When Froman died in March, 2013, over 5000 people came to his funeral in Tekoa – left and right, secular and religious, Jew and Palestinian, and all points in between.
These days, especially after the recent war between Israel and Hamas, it seems like all of us – Jews and non-Jews – are splintering apart more and more. Political discussion is often banned when families get together, because people immediately take sides. Froman taught again and again – often from the ideas of his own mentor, Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav – that the most important thing for t’shuvah (repentance) is not to despair, not to be cynical. Froman said that “opening hearts is more important than ‘my truth’ .”
What may be most amazing is the Palestinian activists who were attracted to Froman and his ideas. Ali, whose older brother was killed by Israeli soldiers, nevertheless tells us, “After years, I found that Palestinian freedom should pass through Jewish hearts – if we can create trust and overcome the fear, we will be the happiest two nations on the planet.”
Froman, living in a settlement surrounded by many Palestinian villages, and knowing that he could never leave the land of his ancestors, concluded, “The essence of my religion is to love the Palestinians.” Sound impossible? Not according to this rabbi who lived in Tekoa, the home of biblical prophet Amos.
What Will You Do with the Money?
– finish editing
– sound mix, color correction, titles, subtitles (including Hebrew and Arabic), final print
– marketing and publicity, film festival entry feesIf we surpass our goal, it will allow us to spend even more time doing outreach, which will help secure more screenings, both in the United States and in Israel/Palestine. It will also allow us to offer screening discounts to selected schools and other institutions, and to create our Study Guide.