Culture, Israel, Mishegas

Ever Fancied Yourself a Producer?

Three Boston-area Jewish professionals-cum-independent-documentarians are working on an hour-long documentary about Birthright Israel… and they need YOUR HELP!
Mifgash: Encountering Jewish Identity in the 21st CenturyThe project is called Mifgash: Encountering Jewish Identity in the 21st Century, and the filmmakers are about $800 away from their $10,000 goal. If you’ve ever wanted to see your name in the credits of a film, this could be your chance, for as little as $36. For a grand, you can become an Associate Producer. If you’re interested in chipping in, check out their page on Kickstarter.
From the trailer, the film seems like a Birthright lovefest, so I’m curious to see if the final project includes the voices of Birthright’s critics. Then again, the trailer also features at least one image of tefillin and no drunken hookups, so one wonders how much the film will really reflect the Birthright experience.

3 thoughts on “Ever Fancied Yourself a Producer?

  1. Following Birthright kids for the duration of their trip will tell you roughly nothing about the actual effectiveness of the program as a means of strengthening diaspora Jewish identity. If you’ve been itching to see the canned Hillel Jewish narrative in action (wow, I’m part of a people now…Zionism rules!) then by all means watch this film. Otherwise save your time.

  2. Sorry for the delayed response to the above comments. I am the film’s director and one of the producers. This film is definitely NOT a propaganda film. The inspiration to start this project came from the fact that a lot of participants, potential participants, parents of participants, members of the Jewish community, and people who follow Israeli issues believe that Taglit-Birthright Israel, etc, etc, etc is either a right wing religious Orthodox conversion program or even worse, a right wing political propaganda program.
    JTabes is right, following Birthright participants for the duration of their trip will tell us nothing about the actual effectiveness of the program. However, it does show what happens on the trip. It shows generally how a group of forty participants interact with their Israeli guide and American staff members. It shows what sites are visited and how itineraries are structured. Something that anyone who has never been on a Birthright trip has a hard time to visualize or really understand.
    What our film does do present interviews with participants a year after their trip to see how they feel the trip has affected them. The film also uses interview footage with Len Saxe, Director of the Cohen Center of Modern Jewish Studies at Brandies University, who has done quantitative research on people who have gone and not gone on the Birthright trips since the program started ten and a half years ago.
    In addition, the film uses interview footage with Yossi Beilin (of Oslo Accords and Geneva Initiative fame) who also more quietly developed the initial “birthright” idea in the 90s.
    If there are any additional questions or comments about this film, which will hopefully be completed and released this coming fall, please email me directly at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.