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Trembling Before G-d (2001)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 795 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 16 user | 36 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A cinematic portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Shlomo Ashkinazy ...
Himself - Psychotherapist
Steve Greenberg ...
Himself (as Rabbi Steve Greenberg)
Nathan Lopes Cardozo ...
Himself (as Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo)
Naomi Mark ...
Herself - Psychotherapist
Shlomo Riskin ...
Himself (as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin)
Yaakov Meir Weil ...
Himself - Psychiatrist (as Dr. Yaakov Meir Weil)
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Storyline

Built around intimately-told personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, the film portrays a group of people who face a profound dilemma - how to reconcile their passionate love of Judaism and the Divine with the drastic Biblical prohibitions that forbids homosexuality. Written by up and out

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gay | jew | love | faith | orthodox jew | See All (191) »

Taglines:

The hidden lives of gay and lesbian Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

6 December 2001 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Ils tremblent devant Dieu  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,410 (USA) (26 October 2001)

Gross:

$619,612 (USA) (22 March 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The spelling of the last word in this movie's title comes from the Jewish tradition of treating any written representation of the name of God with respect, and not writing it on any document that might be treated carelessly or accidentally or deliberately defaced, destroyed, or erased (a longstanding Rabbinical interpretation of Deuteronomy 12:3). Since this movie, like most, had posters, sales materials, contractual paperwork, DVD covers, and other ephemera with its title on them go out into public hands, the filmmakers used the G-d spelling out of respect and recognition that there was no way to know how the documents on which the name would be treated outside of their presences. See more »

Quotes

Rabbie Meir Fund: ...so the Jew who is gay by choice... work like mad to overcome it... a Jew who is, as we might say, wall-to-wall gay... I will hold his hand, figuratively... and do the best I can to give him strength to serve G-d.
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Connections

Featured in SexTV: Trembling Before G-d/Midori (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

As a gay Catholic, I can identify ...
14 December 2002 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

As a gay Catholic, who has embraced celibacy to conform to the teachings of the Church, I can wholeheartedly identify with the efforts of the Orthodox Jewish lesbians and gays in this film to reconcile their spirituality and sexuality, and to find acceptance in the eyes of God and their community. It is heartwrenching especially to see the havoc that this struggle has wreaked in the life of Israel Fishman. On the surface, he responds with bravado, rejecting the people and the faith that have rejected him. Yet, in one of the film's most powerful scenes, he vents his sorrow and bitterness, anger and rage, at what being gay has cost him, especially the love of his father.

The documentary is perhaps not slick and elegant in terms of production values. The constant subtitles, interpreting Hebrew and Yiddish terms for the Gentile viewer, are sometimes intrusive and annoying (especially if the viewer is at all conversant with the Jewish faith). It would have been useful, though, to explain that "Ha-Shem" means "the Name", i.e., God's name which may never be pronounced.

What it most interesting about this documentary, I think, is that it shows how the main problem may not so much be finding acceptance of onself as lesbian or gay, but rather finding acceptance of oneself as a spiritual person in a secular world.

Finally, although the film clearly documents the trials and difficulties of being a lesbian or gay Orthodox Jew, the joy of loving and being loved by G-d comes shining through. The lesbians and gays in this film suffer much at the hands of their families and rabbis, their synagogues and yeshivas -- but never, it seems, do they question that they are loved and accepted by G-d.


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