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Apples From the Desert (2014)

Rebecca Abarnabel, a single daughter born into an Orthodox Jewish family, is tired of the lifestyle that her father, Reuven, has forced upon her. She and her mother, Victoria, go on a life-changing journey between worlds.


Matti Harari, Savyon Liebrecht (short story) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Moran Rosenblatt ... Rivka Abarbanel
Reymonde Amsallem ... Victoria Abarbanel
Shlomi Koriat ... Reuven Abarbanel
Elisha Banai ... Dubi
Irit Kaplan ... Sara
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Moshe Ashkenazi ... Yossi
Moti Ben Ishai ... Shealtiel
Yana Bron ... Sharlin
Nimrod Hochenberg
Tzvi Shissel ... Zeev
Tami Spivak


Rebecca is the only daughter of an Orthodox Jewish family living in Jerusalem. Unhappy with the reality of her life, Rebecca secretly exposes herself to the secular world. One day she runs away from her family to a kibbutz in the desert with a young man. Written by Topia Communications

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance







Release Date:

7 May 2015 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Jablka z puste See more »

Filming Locations:

Jerusalem, Israel See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Narrative Award Winner: 2015 See more »

Alternate Versions

An expanded version of the film was broadcast in 2016 on the Israeli Channel 1 as a three-episode mini-series. See more »

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User Reviews

On the cusp of the Orthodox Jewish and secular Jewish communities in Israel
25 June 2015 | by paul-allaerSee all my reviews

"Apples From the Desert" (2014 release from Israel; 96 min.) brings the story of an Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem, in particular Rivka and her parents. As the movie opens, we see Rivka, a 19 yr. old woman, walking in the streets, on her way home from work. Her mother Victoria is listening to some music, but as soon as the husband Reuven gets home, she shuts off the radio and clams up. Likewise for Rivka, who hides a book under her pillow and pretends to sleep. It isn't long before a pattern emerges, namely Reuven being a more-than-dominating force and control freak over every single aspect of Rivka's (and Victoria's) life. When Reuven is seriously considering marrying off Rivka to a widower twice her age and who has 3 young kids), Rivka can't take it anymore and decides to run away, aided by a guy she recently met at a dance class at the rec center. What will Reuven now do? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is not the first, or second, or third movie out of Israel in recent years that examines the tensions between the 'bubble' in which Orthodox Jews live, and the rest of the world. Yet neither does it mean that it becomes any less fascinating to watch such a movie. The tensions in the real world between Orthodox Jews and secular Jews in Israel are palpable, and are only getting worse with each passing year (due to higher birth rates, Orthodox Jews continue to grow over the years as a percentage of Israel's overall population). As Rivka comes into contact with the world outside of her Orthodox Jewish community, we see she is genuinely shocked when her new friend has no mezuzah on his door, and the food he serves is not kosher. The film makers do a great job showing us the strong bonds that Rivka has with her religion, even if that religion has more or less forced her to run away from home so as to try and make a life for herself. Another interesting character in the movie is Rivka's aunt (Victoria's sister), who never married and dreams of going to visit Venice one day. But the most tragic character is surely Victoria, who is between a rock and a hard place as both the wife of Reuven and the mother of Rivka. When Rivka asks her mom "why are you letting him do this to me? is this all I am worth to you?", just watch for Victoria's reaction. Heartbreaking…

I recently saw this movie at the Summer Series of the 2015 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati. The screening was PACKED, and you could hear a pin drop during the more tense moments of the movie. When the house lights came on, there was a spontaneous applause from the audience, which will give you a good indication how well this movie was received. If you are in the mood for a tense family drama set on the cusp of the Orthodox Jewish and secular Jewish communities in Israel, you cannot go wrong with this. "Apples From the Desert" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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