Trembling Before G-d

Director: Sandi DuBowski

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Director Sandi Simcha Dubowski has orchestrated a film of unparalleled scope with his remarkable Trembling Before G-d. This feature-length documentary is about Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who "come out" as gays and lesbians and as a result must reconcile their sexual orientation with the drastic discipline of their tradition. They struggle with a way to negotiate their sexuality and identity within a religious community and ultimately are forced to question how they can pursue truth and faith in their lives.

Trembling Before G-d gives us an opportunity to understand the way modern perceptions about sexuality have come to challenge entrenched religious views which condemn homosexual lifestyles and have forced many gay people in Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish communities into isolation. As the film unfolds, we meet intolerant rabbis, narrow-minded family members, and abandoned gays and lesbians who are all struggling to solve an inscrutable dilemma: how it is possible to remain true to familiar, age-old traditions and values and simultaneously be true to oneself.

Shot over five years in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and London, the film is an international project with global implications that strike at the core of the rapidly growing religious world. To date no film or book has documented in depth these stories and struggles. Trembling Before G-d takes a provocative look at issues that have rarely been publicly discussed.

— Carla Israelson

Screening Details

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