A Life Apart: Hasidism in America | Chicago Reader

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America

Leonard Nimoy and Sarah Jessica Parker take turns narrating this intriguing 50-year history of Hasidic Jewish immigrants and their descendants in the U.S. Beginning with snippets of non-Hasidim expressing bigoted notions about this tight-knit group—later one detractor will accuse them of “spiritual arrogance”—the movie proceeds to both demystify and corroborate stereotypes as it goes to great lengths to be evenhanded. Only one interviewee, a woman, represents young Hasidic Jews who've rejected their heritage, but because gender roles seem so strictly prescribed, it might have been more interesting if filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky had also interviewed a man who'd left the community. Still, their documentary gets deep into questions about the preservation, assimilation, and clashing of cultures in this nation.

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