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Trembling Before G-d (2001)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 6 December 2001 (Israel)
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A cinematic portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation.
8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Shlomo Ashkinazy Shlomo Ashkinazy ... Himself - Psychotherapist
Steve Greenberg Steve Greenberg ... Himself (as Rabbi Steve Greenberg)
Nathan Lopes Cardozo Nathan Lopes Cardozo ... Himself (as Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo)
Naomi Mark Naomi Mark ... Herself - Psychotherapist
Shlomo Riskin Shlomo Riskin ... Himself (as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin)
Yaakov Meir Weil 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 | faith | orthodox jew | lesbian | See All (190) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Simcha Leib Productions

Country:

Israel | France | USA

Language:

English | Yiddish | Hebrew

Release Date:

6 December 2001 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Drzac przed Bogiem See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,410, 28 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$619,612, 24 March 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

 
Life of LGBT in Jewish realies
3 October 2018 | by chosenooneSee all my reviews

For the moment, imagine being a young child, and you are observing unintentionally that all of your friends show signs of love to opposite sex, which basically creates a clear foundation that it is "the norm" in the society you are in. But then you realize that you have that tingling feeling when it comes to interaction with boys, but nothing happens with girls. Of course, the panic will slowly arise, because it is obvious to you at this age that this is abnormal. And you try to hide deep down your feelings at all, planting that exact seed of conflict of your true nature with the world around you, which is also means that you deny to tell and admit to anyone, even yourself. That basically describes the struggle of vast majority of homosexual people around the world. But, that is not enough: imagine if all of the mentioned things happen in a community, where religion plays huge role in people's life, spreading its roots deep down to most of the aspects of their life. And this particular religion is straightforwardly states that being gay or lesbian is a sin and/or evil quality. In other words, struggles that LGBT people would come up with are multiplied several times. And this is what is shown in the wonderful documentary film called "Trembling before G-d", created in 2001 and based on the six-year work of Sandi Simcha DuBowski interviewing dozens of homosexual people in the Jewish community. Only several out of all were brave enough to agree being part of this film, which already shows how much this particular quality is abnormal to their society. The whole film is constructed around the interviews and people's stories with an addition of commentaries from different psychotherapists and rabbis (teachers in Judaism). The main point here is the conflict between the inner nature of homosexual people and their faith. From the one side, it is written commandments in Torah (Jewish Bible), that being homosexual is a sin and etc., and it was mentioned in the film that it is literally the first line that says breaking the rules is prohibited. In other words, there is a pretty obvious logical contradiction in being gay and religious person at the same time. But on the other side, it is inevitable nature of the human itself, he/she simply cannot go against himself in this particular aspect of sexuality. You just do not feel the same feelings of love and sexual desire to the opposite sex, and there is no matter of controlling it. In the film, actual gay person consulted several times at psychotherapist about this issue, and what he was actually offered were different attempts to change it - whenever he started to feel attracted to men he needed to slap himself by rubber band, or bite his tongue, or hold on the breath, using the logic of waking up from this "cloud". In other case, another homosexual man's story were way more harsh than the previous one - as soon as his father knew about his gayness, he started taking son to mental hospital, where he undergo electroshocking practice, by also suffering from huge pressure towards him. There, we see that being gay/lesbian is not only bad, both parents and society tries to "cure" these people from their sins, by medicine, by performing atonement ceremonies where people prayed for them. This factor also creates large amount of pressure to the individual himself, where he sees that coming out as a gay in this society will cost a lot - lots of health, time, nerves, and different aspects about social life will also change like people evading the contact with him and etc. An interesting phenomenon we can observe here is that it is a fact that being LGBT is considered as a serious sin, and majority of the people who were brave enough to accept it and not be ashamed of it - they try their best to compensate it with lots of good deeds. Trying to shift the balance in the scales for the good side their whole life, which also creates stressful environment. So, where it came up? Gay and lesbian people who can't risk it all to be themselves, lots of people surviving in the marriages with opposite sex just for the sake of family, this is basically how the situation is established in the Jewish society. And the problem is not discussed enough to even reconsider anything, and without the publicly showing and discussing the issue out loud, it could have been the same for the long period of time. But films like this that raise public awareness around this whole situation, they really help to solve the issue and at least show the world that particularly in the Jewish society homosexual people are living in constant agony of conflicting between themselves and their faith.


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