Ushpizin (2004)

Moshe and Mali Bellanga are dirt poor and childless, having joined the Breslov Hassidic community in Jerusalem as adults.  Their powerful faith is tested by their childlessness, and by their poverty, as well.  Their love, and their marriage, are severely tested when Moshe pays an extraordinary sum for a gorgeous etrog in preparing for the Sukkot holiday.  “Friends” from his former life, now escaped convicts, soon visit, and matters get extraordinarily complicated.  The Hardei community is the source of much contention in Israel, largely because Haredim do not serve in the army. But this touching film, in which the actors themselves are Hardeim and married to each other, casts an entirely different, and loving, light on this poorly understood community.  A beautiful film.

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About Daniel Gordis

Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. The author of numerous books on Jewish thought and currents in Israel, and a recent winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Dr. Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism.

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