Jews By Choice

Free Mitzvah Series Screening. Ticket required to attend.

After Germany occupied the village of Krnov in 1938 in what is now the Czech Republic, the small but thriving Jewish community was decimated. Miraculously, the synagogue remained, lying vacant but intact until 1997 when the “flood of the millennium” ravaged the structure. The government would prefer to level the remains, but an intrepid group of citizens volunteered as stewards with the goal of turning it into a thriving Jewish cultural center for the region, even though not one among them is Jewish.

At the helm is Aharon, who becomes strongly drawn to conversion, and Bronislov, a newly single father whose marriage unravels when he expresses the same desire. Along with the arduous process of a rebuild, their conversion must gain the approval of exacting Jewish authorities. Years pass as they are unable to find a rabbi willing to help, until they meet Rabbi Tanya. Seemingly their prayers have been answered, but now they encounter an entirely new set of challenges. This profile of identity and belonging was produced with a JFI completion grant. — Lori Donnelly

2023 JFI Completion Grant Recipient

Justyna Gawelko, Director and creative producer. Graduate of Cultural Studies and Script Pro scriptwriting program at Wajda Film School. For several years she has been working in the documentary industry, gaining her experience within CoPro Market (Israel) and CEDOC Market (Poland). Director of a short documentary “Yehudis” (2018). ""Jews by Choice"" is her feature debut. Creative producer in Silver Frame production house (Poland).

Tomer Slutzky is a documentary director and cinematographer. His debut film ""Bronca"" received an honorable mention in Haifa Film Festival 2022, had an international premiere in Warsaw Film Festival and won the script award in Trieste Latin American Film Festival.

Mitzvah Series screenings are sponsored by the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation. Additional support provided by Taube Philanthropies.

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