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Jews in the News: Documentaries ‘Kabbalah Me’ and ‘Sukkah City’ Available on March 24

Jews in the News: Documentaries 'Kabbalah Me' and 'Sukkah City' Available on March 24

New York-based distributor First Run Features will release two Jewish-themes documentaries this month. Each one takes on a different, rarely explored aspect of Jewish culture. Here is more information on both upcoming releases.

Kabbalah Me
A film by Steven Bram

80 minutes, documentary, color, 2014

DVD Extras: Bonus Shorts (Oneness;
Good & Evil in Kabbalah; Women in Kabbalah; Science & Kabbalah;
Celebration: Meron; Meditation:
Opening the Heart)

Kabbalah Me” is a personal journey into the esoteric
spiritual phenomenon known as Kabbalah. Throughout history, Kabbalah was
studied by
only the most holy Talmud scholars. The
misinformation, innuendo and prohibition surrounding Kabbalah kept its
wisdom from most
Jews; many were even unaware of its

In “Kabbalah Me,” director Steven
Bram embarks on a spiritual investigation that leads him to reunite
with the Hasidic
branch of his family and connect to the
community of Judaic scholarship. Eventually his curiosity takes him on a
pilgrimage to
Israel, where he immerses himself in
history and traditions of the Holy Land.

Along the way, leading authorities
discuss the complex, mystical world of Kabbalah – its varying
interpretations and the myriad
paths of its rituals and lessons. Bram’s
new commitment to spirituality and religious observance draws
skepticism from family
and friends but ultimately leads to
profound changes across all aspects of his life.

Some positive press reactions:

“A fascinating and inspiring story about
a man’s spiritual journey into the complex world of Jewish mysticism.
But on another
level, it is also a revelatory documentary about how faith and religious
observance are marginalized in our society.”
– Jewish Daily Forward

“Welcoming and intriguing.” – The Village Voice

“Often fascinating, frequently moving and certainly worthy of a viewing.” – Jewish Week

Sukkah City
A film by Jason Hutt

67 minutes, documentary, color, 2013

DVD Extras: Bonus Shorts (Yeshiva
Boys; Importance of Competitions; Submission Board Strategy) •
Submission Board Gallery

DVD packaged in certified Green Forestry eco pack

When best-selling author Joshua Foer
begans to build his first sukkah, a small hut that Jews build and dwell
in every fall for
the holiday of Sukkot, he wanted to move
beyond the generic plywood boxes and canvas tents that have become the
status quo. He discovered that while the
Bible outlines the basic parameters for what a sukkah should look like
and how it
should function, it leaves plenty of
room for variation and interpretation. Foer thought, ‘what if
contemporary architects and
designers were challenged to design and
construct twelve radical sukkahs? What would they come up with?’ And so
was born the
design competition known as Sukkah City
in Union Square Park, in the heart of New York City.

Chronicling the competition, the film
goes behind the scenes during construction, exhibition, and judging to
provide an
entertaining and inspiring portrait of
the project’s visionary architects and structures – an exciting,
singular moment in the
American Jewish experience.

Some positive press reactions:

“’Sukkah City’ captures the
excitement around an art installation in one of New York City’s great
public spaces.” – The

“A remarkable architectural competition. It’s amazing nobody thought of this before.”

– The New Yorker

“You’ll smile. You’ll chuckle. You’ll be moved!” – The Forward

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