Kaddish

Director: Steve Brand
Screenwriters: Steve Brand

Institute History

  • 1985 Sundance Film Festival

Description

The period of mourning in Orthodox Jewish tradition requires that the dutiful son must recite Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, three times each day for one year following the parent’s death. Although said in a time of mourning, death is never mentioned. It is instead an affirmation of life, a commitment to carry on.

From an early age Yossi Klein received a special education. He was prepared for another Holocaust. So were other children in Boro Park, the largest Orthodox survivor community in America, and this candid portrait of a young Jewish activist coming to terms with his father’s traumatic history is as bracing as any fiction.

Through his writing and activism, Yossi attempts to carry on the legacy of struggle his father passed on to him. A portrait emerges of a young man whose world view and personal outlook have been principally shaped by an event that took place before he was born.

This sweeping family chronicle, years in the making, is riveting and emotion-packed. It is a film about hope, not death; survival, not destruction. Kaddish is full of the unexpected: a sense of humor and joie de vivre, a sense not so much of bitterness and despair as of strength and love. It is a film about a son and his father, both trying to come to terms with their shared legacies.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

Credits

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