Spark Among the Ashes: A Bar Mitzvah in Poland
Director: Oren Rudavsky
Maria Jakubowicz, one of 600 elderly Jew still living in Cracow, Poland, was visited by a contingent of American Jews some years ago. They asked if there was anything they could send her, naively thinking she might like a new winter coat. Her request: to see once more the bar mitzvah of a Jewish boy in Cracow. Spark Among the Ashes records their response to her extraordinary wish. The first Polish bar mitzvah in more than 20 years is celebrated with Eric Strom, a 13-year-old from Stamford, Conn., who journeys to Poland expressly for the ceremony. Scenes of Cracow, only an hour from the Auschwitz concentration camp (where Ericâ€™s own great-grandparents were killed), recall the once-bustling Jewish community that prior to the war numbered 60,000.
In a subplot that threatens to mar the joyousness of the bar mitzvah, an American orthodox rabbi arrives, believing Ericâ€™s own reform rabbi (a woman rabbi to boot!) to be an inappropriate participant. A brief scuffle between the rabbis insues, but Eric rises to the occasion to read a passage from the Scripture dealing with the rejection of violence. The New York Timesâ€™ article on the event referred to this â€śconflict between movements in American Judaismâ€ť as â€śworthy of a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer.â€ť
Playing with and preceding Isaac in America.
- Documentary Feature
- 1987, Sundance Film Festival
- U.S.A., 56 min.