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"Yippee!" chronicles the director Paul Mazursky's whirlwind journey to Uman, a small Ukrainian town that is the site of a unique, annual gathering of Jewish men making pilgrimages to the burial place of Rabbi Nachman (1772-1810). When Mazursky was told by his optometrist that 25,000--mostly Hasidic--Jews from around the world were expected to visit Uman for three days of praying, singing, and dancing, the director felt compelled to make the journey himself. Arriving in Ukraine with a small film crew, Mazursky experiences an amazing series of events. He meets and interviews a wide variety of Jewish men from many countries, sharing meals, laughs, and this unique experience. The director visits the graveside of Hasidic-movement founder Baal Shem Tov (Nachman's great-grandfather) and talks with Uman's non-Jews about their reactions to the annual massive influx of Hasidim. The adventure culminates on the evening of Rosh Hashanah in a mass expression of spiritual ecstasy. "Yippee!" is a ... Written by
National Center for Jewish Film
Paul Mazursky has struck gold once again, but I have a prudish observation. The film was perfect until near the end, when foul language changed the story from G to R. The language wasn't necessary, and in fact, ruined the rest of the gem. Oh, well. For those of you who are not prudish, Yippee tells the story of the annual pilgrimage of Jews to Uman, a small town in the Ukraine, where one of the great Rabbinic masters, Reb Nachman of Breslov is buried. Each year, on the Jewish New Year, Jews recite a select ten psalms by his graveside in hopes of bringing the Messiah back to Earth. Paul's visits with the people, not just the Jews, but everyone involved, are fascinating. The documentary is also a beautiful travel guide, except for that one momentary lapse of appropriate language. I can hear Paul now chewing me out, but I am a fan of his work. I wish somehow that the questionable language could be deleted, because then this film would be perfect for all audiences, not just adults. Also, out of respect to Paul, I won't repeat his favorite joke; you'll have to watch "Yippee" and see for yourself.
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