A Life Apart: Hasidism in America

Watch A Life Apart: Hasidism in America

  • TV-PG
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 7.0  (176)

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is a documentary film released in 1997 that provides insights into the world of Hasidic Jewish communities in America. The film is directed by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky and features narration by Leonard Nimoy. The documentary explores the lives of Hasidic Jews through the eyes of seven different individuals from various Hasidic communities in America. The film showcases the rich cultural traditions, religious beliefs, and struggles of Hasidic Jewish communities.

The film begins by introducing us to the Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we meet Zeldy Abromowitz, a devout Hasidic woman who offers insights into the strict observances, customs, and traditions that govern daily life in her community. Abromowitz talks about the role of women in the Hasidic community, the importance of marriage and family, and the strict dress codes that are enforced. She tells us that Hasidic Jews live a life of holiness that is guided by strict adherence to religious laws and customs.

The documentary then takes us on a journey to other Hasidic communities across America, where we meet different individuals who offer their perspectives on what it means to be a Hasidic Jew. We meet a young Hasidic woman named Faigy who talks about the conflict she faces between her desire for education and the expectations of her community. We also meet a Hasidic businessman named Gershon who talks about the tension between making a living and observing religious laws.

One of the most fascinating segments of the film is the portrayal of the Lubavitcher Hasidic community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Here, we meet Sarah Jessica Parker, who grew up in the community and provides her reflections on the ways in which the Lubavitcher Hasidic community has influenced her life. We also meet Rabbi Manis Friedman, a prominent Lubavitcher rabbi who provides insights into the Hasidic philosophy of joy and the ways in which this philosophy informs the community's approach to life.

The documentary also explores the challenges that Hasidic Jews face in their interactions with the broader American society. We meet a Hasidic teenager named Mendy who is struggling with his desire to pursue secular education and his family's expectation that he will study in a yeshiva. We also hear from a Hasidic rabbi named Yotav Eliach, who talks about the ways in which the Hasidic community seeks to maintain its distinct identity in a society that often challenges its values and beliefs.

Overall, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary that offers unique insights into the world of Hasidic Jews in America. The film provides a nuanced and complex portrayal of the traditions, beliefs, and struggles of Hasidic communities and is a valuable resource for anyone interested in exploring this rich cultural tradition.

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is a 1997 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.

Where to Watch A Life Apart: Hasidism in America
A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent A Life Apart: Hasidism in America for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (176)