Arnold Labaton

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A Life Apart: Hasidism In America Review


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Legend has it that one rabbi, when coming to America, couldn't fit the Torah's scrolls into their new covers. "We can't modify the Torah to fit America," he said, but "we will tailor America to fit the Torah." A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is a thoughtful, compassionate documentary that illuminates the philosophy behind Hasidism's stubborn refusal to join the American mainstream.

Even among different denominations of Jewish religion, Hasidism stands alone, a religion of minorities among minorities. The invaluable quality of this film is that it neither critiques nor praises the Hasidic religion. For a subject matter as extreme and uncompromising as the religion itself, A Life Apart is wonderfully even-handed. Throughout the film, which starts and concludes with an exuberant wedding ceremony underlying the significance of ritual for the Hasidic community, we dig into the mystic philosophy behind the Hasidic refusal to participate in the contemporary world.

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A Life Apart: Hasidism In America Movie Review

A Life Apart: Hasidism In America Movie Review

Legend has it that one rabbi, when coming to America, couldn't fit the Torah's scrolls...

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