A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1997)

Not Rated   |    |  Documentary

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1997) Poster

Hasidic Jews seem alien, and even hostile, to those outside their culture,which frequently includes other Jews. They dress differently, don't mingle between the sexes, speak Yiddish, and ... See full summary »


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17 August 2008 | MartinHafer
| Excellent insights into a community so few understand in America
Not being a New York City native, I can't recall ever having had any interactions with Hasidic Jews. Sure, on trips to the Big Apple, I've seen them on the streets here and there but like most in my country, I know very little about them--especially since this sect of Judaism is one that generally avoids the media and lives in small tight-knit enclaves in New York and a few other places in the world--not here where I live in Florida. So, because of my ignorance, I really liked being able to have a rare glimpse into their community and families. Despite wanting to be very separate culturally, these people seemed generally open to explaining to others their customs and lifestyle. For that, I felt like I'd been granted a rare privilege and it would be nice to see more films like this. I've heard that there are similar films about the Amish and Muslims--these would be a nice complement to this film.

The part I appreciated the most were interviews with non-Jews. Listening to their suspicions and trepidation about these people and then seeing that there really isn't anything to fear about Hasidism was a nice opportunity.

As far as the film goes technically, it was well-constructed--with nice music, appropriate interviews and a nice gentle pacing. All this left me with an admiration, of sorts, for these gentle people.

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November 1997



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