• “The Rabbi Goes West” Released

    When Rabbi Chaim Bruk moved from Brooklyn to Montana in 2007 with his wife, Chavie, to open the state’s first Chabad center, he pledged to put a kosher mezuzah on the doorpost of every Jewish home • Full Article

    jweekly.com

    When Rabbi Chaim Bruk moved from Brooklyn to Montana in 2007 with his wife, Chavie, to open the state’s first Chabad center, he pledged to put a kosher mezuzah on the doorpost of every Jewish home.

    There are 2,000 Jewish families in Montana — that’s a lot of mezuzahs.

    We learn about this pledge early in “The Rabbi Goes West,” and it becomes a central organizing principle in this smart and highly engaging documentary by Boston-based co-directors Gerald Peary and Amy Geller.

    Just as putting up mezuzahs gives Chabad rabbis a way to step into Jewish homes, watching Bruk putting up the mezuzahs gives the audience intimate access to the lives and beliefs of Montana’s Jews. It’s one of several through-lines that move this charming narrative along.

    There are many films about Chabad, most of them fawning hagiographies produced by Chabadniks or their followers. This is not that. In just 75 minutes, we learn a great deal about Bruk, Jewish Montana, Chabad, and how Chabad interacts with other streams of Judaism. And we have fun doing it.

    It helps that Bruk has a huge personality. He’s funny, intelligent and endearing. That’s typical of Chabad rabbis who are pioneers in a region, and it was smart of the filmmakers to focus on someone like him.

    He and his wife are not typical, however, in one important way: Unable to have children, they have adopted five, including a young biracial boy.

    “To all the racists out there, I say, come and get me,” he tells the camera. “I’m a Montanan, I’m Orthodox and I have a black child.”

    Montana is a gorgeous state! The scenery is breathtaking — big skies, snow, lakes, mountains — and the film is shot beautifully, even the up-close interviews. That’s important, because a lot of the narrative involves talking heads, which could be deadly if not done well.

    Those talking heads are Bruk and Montana’s three other rabbis, all from liberal denominations. The other rabbis don’t hold back when they talk about where they differ with Bruk and his brand of Judaism. Yet the conversations are always respectful, even though it’s clear that Bruk has stepped on a few toes while pursuing his mission to “touch every Jew.”

    One of the film’s more compelling scenes is about the incident in winter 2017 when two of the rabbis were targeted by neo-Nazi hate. It was widely covered by the Jewish media at the time, but hearing Rabbis Francine Roston and Allen Secher talk about the phone calls they got, and how the aftermath was handled, is very powerful.

    Above all, “The Rabbi Goes West” is about a haredi guy from Brooklyn who uproots himself from everything he knows to move to the Wild West. He’s come to change Jews, sure, by asking them to do more mitzvahs. But the power of Big Sky country changes him, too.

    Living in Montana has, Bruk says, made him “a more thoughtful person, a more open-minded person.”

    Peary and Geller bit off a lot with this film, and they have handled it just right. Put it on your viewing list.

    410

    Tags: ,

    Related Posts:

    *Only proper comments will be allowed
  • Event Calendar

  • Tuesday, Oct 27th, Wedding – Shlome Wolvovsky – CH & Rochel Leah Matusof – Madison, WI @ Oholei Torah
  • Thursday Oct 29th Wedding: Devorah Bennish – Detroit & Mordechai Rubin – London @ Royalty House, MI
  • Sunday, Oct 25th, Sholli Miller – Chicago, IL & Batya Korf – Miami Beach, FL @ Bais Rivka 310 Crown Street
  • Thursday, Oct 22 Wedding: Chaim Boruch Bar-Chaim – CH & Shoshana Pimentelli – CH/TX @ Oholei Torah
  • Thursday, Oct 22 L’Chaim: Sruli Finck – CH & Chaya Mangel – Dayton, OH @ Chovevei Torah 885 Eastern Parkway
  • Tuesday, Oct 20th Wedding: Dovid Kaminetzky – Melbourne, AU & Chaya Okunov – Crown Heights @ Oholei Torah
  • Monday Oct 19 L’Chaim: Ari (Aaron) Levertov – Crown Heights & Debby Rabinowicz – Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Choivevey Torah
  • Monday, Oct 19 2015 Wedding: Mendy Zippel – Salt Lake City, UT & Fraidy Shagalov – Crown Heights @ Oholei Torah
  • Sunday 18th Oct. L’Chaim: Chananya Niassoff – CH & Tzirl Brennan – CH @ Bais Rivkah Crown St
  • Sunday Oct 18th – Wedding: Mendy Edelman – Crown Heights & Sara Lozenik – Miami, FL @ Oholei Torah
  • Tehilim

  • Urgent Tehillim Needed
  • Dov Chaim Ben Rivkah
  • Tzvi Hirsch Ben Guttel
  • Charna Alexandra bas Chana Esther
  • Ettie Bas Alte Miriam
  • Zissel Yehudis Bas Masha
  • Chaim Yosef Yitzchok Ben Sarah Elka
  • Devorah Bas Sarah
  • Boruch Ben Sarah
  • DovBer Ben Dina
  • Lost and Found

  • Lost Men’s Heavy Black Winter Jacket Size Large in 770
  • Lost in 770 before Pesach, a black Bradley Jons long coat size 38R. No lining and no belt. Almost brand new! Please call zalman at 347-788-0749
  • Found black hats outside 770, behind the Hatzalah ambulance
  • lost – Chitas bearing a blessing to Shmuel from Sarge. (Sargent Zvi Fisher z..l.v) [email protected] or +1-7869427070
  • LOST: in 770 a black Lenovo Intel core i5 laptop in a dark grey laptop bad together with a WD hard drive, if found please call Zalmy 347-788-0749
  • Found: Maroon Chitas
  • Found: Bag of Clothes
  • Found: Leather-Bound Pink Siddur
  • Lost: Box with Mini Shas from YSP
  • Lost: Rose Gold Bangle/Bracelet
  • Classifieds

  • Cook position for a local Mosad
  • Looking for a cook/kitchen manager
  • Administrator for a local Mosad Experience a must, and preferbiligual a bonus [email protected]
  • Looking for a cook/kitchen manager Experience a must. [email protected]
  • ‘Beis Mosiach’s’ to give away for free
  • Private Rooms for Men
  • Newly renovated Basement for rent
  • Judaica Store in Crown Heights is Looking to Hire
  • Looking for Work? Opportunity available, for a quick & efficient typist in Williamsburg. For more info: 201-800-1774
  • Lost in 770 Last Week: Transparant Bag of Tefillin, Rashi, R”T, Chitas – in black/grey 770 pouches