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A Hasidic rabbi moves from Brooklyn to faraway Montana to bring his brand of Orthodox Judaism to the American west.
A Hasidic rabbi moves from Brooklyn to faraway Montana to bring his brand of Orthodox Judaism to the American west.
523 backers pledged $42,516 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Rabbi Goes West, a documentary about religious diversity

$42,516

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We made our Kickstarter Stretch Goal - Take Us to the Holy Land!

Thanks to you, we will be able to cover travel and accommodations for our key crew to screen “The Rabbi Goes West” in the Holy Land. Next year in Israel! 

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 About the film

Our documentary asks: How can we talk with an open heart to those who seem our political and religious opposites?

This unique, complex portrait of a Hasidic rabbi in the new West will resonate with people across the country and even around the world.

Rabbi Chaim with three of his children
Rabbi Chaim with three of his children

With your help, we can reach our funding goal by August 10. Every donation helps! And with Kickstarter, it's all or nothing!

"The Rabbi Goes West" is fiscally sponsored by Documentary Educational Resources, a 501(c) 3, non-profit organization. So your donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

Yes, there are Jews in Montana! That’s what we learned, on our first trips ever to this gorgeous state. As our film crew traveled from Bozeman to Missoula to Whitefish to Helena, we met many of the state’s 1,300 Jews who have chosen to live, and worship, in a place of transcendent beauty.

“The Rabbi Goes West” begins with one of them: Rabbi Chaim Bruk, a young, charismatic Hasidic rabbi from Brooklyn, NY, who moved to faraway Bozeman, Montana, to connect all Jews, observant and unaffiliated, to their Judaism. 

His mission? To place a mezuzah - an encased prayer offering - on the doorpost of every Montana Jew. As he travels across this “big sky” landscape, Rabbi Chaim confronts anti-Semitism, and also objections to his preachings from other rabbis in the state.

Rabbi Chaim places a mezuzah
Rabbi Chaim places a mezuzah

Meeting Rabbi Chaim Bruk, we were struck by his ambitious mission: to bring Jews closer together while putting up mezuzahs all across Montana. We grew to care for Rabbi Chaim and his family. Yet at the same time, we had to acknowledge a disconnect with his Bible-based religious philosophy and some of his politics.

Could we maintain our common ground even when we disagreed? 

We are as disturbed as everyone--liberal, moderate, conservative--by the incredible divisions in America today. “The Rabbi Goes West” asks for tolerance and acceptance for a diversity of religious thinking. Through the lens of a camera, we as liberal, secular Jews from Massachusetts, strive for connection with Montana’s observant Jewish community. 

In today's ideologically fractured world, how can empathy and compassion find a place?

There’s more than one rabbi who arrived in this western state. Meet the true stars of our Montana-set documentary:

Our film also features many members of the diverse Jewish community of Montana.

We need the funds to finish editing, compose an original score and return to Montana for an additional film shoot. With your help we'll be able to bring this film to audiences in 2019!

And remember: since Kickstarter is all or nothing, we must reach our funding goal by August 10. 

PLEASE MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TODAY.

STEP 1: We will screen widely at film festivals in the US, especially the Jewish film festival circuit. There over 135 Jewish festivals globally, including in Israel, Germany, Australia, the UK and even Hong Kong. 

STEP 2: Our film will be shown by public libraries and community and religious organizations. 

STEP 3: We will partner with an educational distributor to make our documentary is available to colleges and universities.

STEP 4: Our film will be available on DVD and broadcast on public television, and on digital platforms like iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. 

We've assembled a stellar team of filmmaking talent, whose award-winning documentaries have screened on public television, Turner Classic Movies International, the Documentary Channel, as well as prestigious film festivals in the US and abroad.  

When you support our project, you can choose to receive one of our FABULOUS REWARDS! Whether you're a foodie, a film lover, an up-and-coming filmmaker, or a health nut, there's something fun and exciting for everyone! 

Because we have a non-profit partner, Documentary Educational Resources (http://www.der.org), all contributions to this Kickstarter campaign are tax-deductible.

  • Please give! Any amount helps.
  • Please share! Repost our campaign on your social networks, post in any groups you think might be interested, and send an email or two alerting friends who would like to see this film.
  • Please like and follow us! We're on Facebook and Twitter and we'd love to connect with you. 
  • Please stay in touch! We'll be communicating with our Kickstarter backers regularly, but also join our email list so you don't miss any important updates on the film.
Montana landscape
Montana landscape

Risks and challenges

As with any project, there are potential risks involved in the completing of a feature film. With their documentary experience, the filmmakers are confident that they will overcome any unforeseen challenges and deliver “The Rabbi Goes West” to audiences. If we encounter any significant delays along the way, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Feed Your Belly Recipe Pack + Gratitude

    What's that sound you hear? It's your belly. Feed it! Get an exclusive collection of Jewish-inspired recipes from our Bubbes and some foodie friends (in PDF form). We're also going to thank you on our website as an official backer AND give you a shout out on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Be among the first to see the film!

    You will get to stream the film online before it’s available on other digital platforms. Plus, you’ll get the Feed Your Belly Digital Recipe Pack, a thank you on our website and a shout out on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    135 backers
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    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    Your Jewish film fix!

    For a $36 donation, 20 lucky backers will receive a pair of tickets to the Boston Jewish Film Festival, 30 years running and stronger than ever, taking place November 7-19. Oh, and we'll throw in everything at the $25 reward level, which includes an online screener of our film. Note: A voucher for festival tickets will be sent this fall 2018.

    Includes:
    • Tickets to the 30th Boston Jewish Film Festival
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Real Mensch Package

    You will be the first to watch a scene from the film-in-progress, emailed to you for your eyes only! AND you've got mail! We’ll send you the limited edition RABBI postcard specially designed by artist Melissa Woods and signed by the filmmakers. You're also going to get ALL of the rewards listed above!

    Includes:
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    93 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Real Mensch DVD Package

    Add our film to your collection. Be the first to get THE RABBI GOES WEST on DVD when it’s released! We're also going to send you the limited-edition signed RABBI postcard, a link to stream the film online before it’s available on digital platforms, the Feed Your Belly Recipe Pack and Gratitude!

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    73 backers
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    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    Go in Good Health Combo

    “Get gezunterheyt,” or go in good health! Enjoy two hours of health and wellness in your own home, any time between September 2018-September 2019! This includes a private training session and a private stretch and strengthen class with two different fitness experts. Available to anyone living inside route 128 in the greater Boston area. You can also gift this to someone special in your life.

    Includes:
    • Private fitness classes
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Welcome to the tribe, bubele!

    We’re going to THANK YOU IN THE CREDITS of the theatrical version of the film. Oh, and you are going to get everything in the Real Mensch DVD Package!

    Includes:
    • Name in film credits
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    13 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Ask the Producer!

    Get expert advice about film production from seasoned producer and former Artistic Director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, Amy Geller. Learn what you need to do to get your film into festivals, develop an audience, and get it out into the world. Or ask anything you ever wanted to know about the world of indie filmmaking. This one-hour skype or in-person session (if in New England) can also be gifted to a friend, family member, or colleague, any time between September 2018-September 2019. Includes everything in the Real Mensch Package.

    Includes:
    • Film consultation
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Portrait By Photographer to the Stars!

    Best-known for her behind-the-scenes stills of Hollywood films (“Room with a View,” “Howard’s End”), Mikki Ansin has photographed the important and famous. She captured portraits of Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Alice Walker, and Ted Kennedy, and she will do a special digital portrait of you, or your friend or loved one, in her Cambridge, MA, studio. Definitely suitable for framing and makes a great gift! Available October 2018 and beyond. https://mikkiansin.com

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Calling all IFFBoston movie fans!

    Get an all-access pass to the Independent Film Festival of Boston (April 2019 dates TBD), the premiere indie film festival in New England. This pass includes festival parties, panels and all films. Plus you're going to receive all the perks in the Real Mensch DVD package, too!

    Includes:
    • All-access pass to IFFBoston - April 2019
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A Night on the Town!

    Get a pair of tickets to opening night of THE RABBI GOES WEST, or a film festival or theatrical screening of RABBI near you, plus an invitation to any VIP receptions or after parties. We’re going to put your name in the credits of the theatrical version of the film, and send you everything in the Real Mensch DVD Package.

    Includes:
    • Tickets to screening near you
    • Name in film credits
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    An Evening of Movie Magic!

    Host your own private New England film screening/discussion, including Q&A with veteran film critic, film historian, and filmmaker Gerald Peary! Pick your favorite film, then invite your friends, any time between September 2018-September 2019! Perfect for a community gathering, a gift to a favorite person (including yourself), or a birthday party. Includes everything in the Real Mensch DVD Package, two tickets to a screening near you and a THANK YOU in the film credits.

    Includes:
    • Private screening w/Q&A
    • Tickets to screening near you
    • Name in film credits
    • DVD
    • Exclusive scene from the film
    • Original postcard
    • Online screener of film
    • Feed Your Belly recipes
    • Website thanks
    • Facebook thanks
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (31 days)