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Ask the Rabbi
News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
I need $100,000. That’s right. I need $100,000 to make a movie of the classic treatise on Jewish faith, “The Kuzari.” It’s been a dream of mine for a long time now. Some years ago, not having the money for a film, I produced a beautifully illustrated, condensed version of the Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi masterpiece, for young people, and for adults who never studied the original.
My condensed, illustrated version of “The Kuzari” is used in many schools in Israel to get students interested in learning about the Torah, and the book’s clear and visualized treatment of basic Jewish themes has been a great eye-opener for adults as well.
“The Kuzari” tells the story of a gentile king who is seeking to find the proper way to worship G-d. The story is based on the actual history of the kingdom of Kuzar in southern Russia, a thousand years ago, when the king of the country discovered the wisdom of the Torah, and converted himself and his subjects to Judaism and to the worship of the one true God.
At the beginning of the tale, an angel appears to the king and tells him to seek out the path of worship that is pleasing to G-d. Beginning his search, the king speaks with a philosopher, then a priest, then a Moslem, but he is left skeptical by their shallow and unsubstantiated answers. So he decides to ask a Rabbi, even though the Jews are a scorned and downtrodden people.
The king’s stimulating conversations with the Rabbi make up the body of the book. Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi uses many wonderful parables to explain the deep foundations of Judaism, and these I was able to illustrate with the help of a gifted artist.
It is these parables which will be cinematically portrayed in the film, G-d willing, helping all people, both those far from Judaism and those who understand matters in a superficial fashion, to see the true beauty and depth of the Torah, and the centrality of the Land of Israel in serving G-d.
It is not my attention, at this point, to make a theatrical release topping “Star Wars” for box-office grosses, but rather to distribute this important, educational film via the Internet and CD’s to as many homes and schools as possible.
Adding to the success of the film will be the authentic historical background of costumes and settings, and well known and top-quality actors, playing the roles of the king and the Rabbi, who will attract people, religious and non-religious alike, to see the film.
It is time that we start using the film media to bring our people back to the fold. The language of film speaks to people today in the most powerful fashion, and it is through this media that we can reach out in the widest way possible to all of our brothers and sisters.
In Israel, the financial governmental grants available to filmmakers are controlled by non-religious, leftist committees, and look askance at fanatical religious rightists like me.
Therefore, I am turning to you, faithful readers, to lend a hand in this worthwhile endeavor. Since, each of my blogs is read by an average of 1000 people and more, if each of you would donate $100 toward the film, I will have attained the $100,000 budget.
I realize that $100 is a respectable sum, and that it is not easy for every blog reader to contribute that amount, but people can contribute what they can, with the hope that others will give more.
I also know that the effort of writing a check and sending it off in the mail is a burden that will hinder many people, but for those of you who really care about the Jewish People and Judaism, you will be taking part in a very important and far-reaching endeavor that can literally save Jewish lives, prevent intermarriage, and bring people back to Torah and to Eretz Yisrael..
I will not cash any checks until the production gets underway. I am also trying to raise funds through other channels. If I don’t obtain an amount necessary to produce a quality film, I will not cash checks which are sent to me, so that no monies will be misused.
If someone would like to contribute a more substantial amount, a US tax-exemption can be obtained via a registered tax-exemptible charitable organization based in the US, who will forward the monies on to the non-profit organization in Israel that will be working with me on the film. In such a case, checks earmarked for the “Kuzari Film” can be made out to the Central Fund For Israel and forwarded to me. All other donations, can be made directly out to me, or to the Israeli non-profit educational organization, Am K’Lavi, by check or post office money order, and mailed to me at:
Tzvi Fishman, 19 Shoshana Street, Jerusalem, Israel 96149.
Questions and leads to other possible financial sources can be e-mailed to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help in this important and ground-breaking project. G-d willing, this is only the beginning.