Kingdoms – a look at Hassidim in Israel

June 8, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Following the extraordinary success of Shtiesel and Unorthodox comes Kingdoms, a three-part documentary on the lives of Hassidic Jews in Israel.

Inside the Belz Synagogue in Jerusalem. The main sanctuary holds 7,000 people. Its Ark holds 70 Torahs.

Filmmaker Uri Rosenwaks is a secular Jew who filmed mainly the Hassidic men and woman who follow the Belz dynasty. Unlike Shtiesel and Unorthodox, this film portrays life as it is without using any actors.

Dealing with today’s community, Rosenwaks introduces us to three women including one has strong feminism attributes. We can see the Hassids embracing secular life in secular career pursuits.

It is up to the viewer to come to his or her conclusion if the people Rosenwacks featured are content with their lives.

The current leader gave his permission to his followers to attend a special screening in Jerusalem and the theatre was packed out with women accompanying their husbands.



Episode 1 Sender’s Revenge

This is a journey that begins in snowy Poland and the plains of the Ukraine where the Hassidic movement was born in the 18th century from Medzhybizh to Auschwitz, from Warsaw to Jerusalem. The episode presents the historical timeline, from the time the movement was established by the Baal Shem Tov, through its almost complete annihilation during the Holocaust, and through to its meteoric revival post-WWII and the Holocaust in Israel and the United States.

Episode 2  Microcosm of a Temple

The Rebbe (“Admor” in Hebrew, an acronym for master, teacher, and rabbi) stands at the centre of the Hassidic world. The Hassidic perception requires absolute self-effacement from the followers, and acceptance of the total authority of the Rebbe in every aspect of their lives. But what does that mean? How is it done? What is this total connection and devotion based on?

Praying at the Rabbi’s grave

Episode 3  Helpmate

The third episode presents the daily lives of the men and women in the Hassidic community. How do they meet the challenges of raising children, income, education, gender, and equality? And how are these matters approached from a Hassidic point of view?

To rent the documentary visit


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