For those of us who live in the U.S. and who, at least in this country, are committed to the ideal of separation of church and state- it is odd to see our own religion so deeply intertwined in the workings of a Democratic Jewish state. In her first documentary, Amy Beth Oppenheimer explores the role of the Rabbinate in Israeli life, mostly in terms of what it means for marriage. Her Film, Faces of Israel raises provocotive questions- What is the role of the Rabbinate? Who should be included in it? What are the alternatives to it? Should Israel allow Same-sex or secular Civil Unions? Her presentation, in the form of a series of interviews, is surprisingly evenhanded, and broad in scope. She allows her subjects, who range from rabbinic leaders to average Israeli citizens, to speak for themselves. That even-handedness is the strength of this movie, and I hope it will inspire viewers to hear the many disparate voices in this conversation.
Faces of Israel opens Tues. March 24th at the Riverdale Y and will be followed by a panel discussion. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.facesthemovie.com, or at the door.