In the 19th century, Berlin was called the "New Jerusalem" by Jews of the Enlightenment movement. For secular Jews, it was the center of the world. In 1935, approximately 175,000 Jews lived in Berlin. Then came the Nazis, and then the Soviets. By 1950, the population of Jews in Berlin had dwindled to just 6,000. It stayed there until 1990. Then came unification. Today, there are 50,000 Jews living in Berlin, and nearly half of them are from Israel.
So why are so many Jews - so many Israeli Jews - leaving their "Promised Land" for Berlin, of all places?
We will meet:
- An Israeli family using Germany's Right of Return to move from Israel to Berlin.
- Israelis who are transforming the cultural landscape of the city: the music, art, clubs, religion, politics and schools.
So far the reaction has been positive and welcoming. We were mentioned in an Israeli television report (starts at 7:10 mark): http://www.mako.co.il/news-channel2/Channel-2-Newscast/Article-c47ada4a3540a31017.htm
And we've received press coverage from the Washington Jewish Week: http://washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=132&SubSectionID=272&ArticleID=18336
And the Baltimore Jewish Times: http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/local_news/aliyah_to_berlin/33390
We will explore:
- The meaning to the average Jew to have the Right of Return to Israel and Germany. What does it mean to Germans? What does it mean to Israel and the situations on the ground in the region?
- The face of the new anti-Semitism in Berlin.
- The impact of Israeli Jews on Berlin's self-understanding and future.
We need your help! Your support will help us:
- First and foremost, we are in the development stage. This money will fund research, pre-interviews, story-boarding certain sequences and sourcing material.
Which means we will...
- Go to Israel and find a family planning to move to Berlin, and explore how it is perceived by their friends and family. We'd also like to interview local religious and political leaders in Israel to get a sense of what has changed for the phenomenon to take place and what it means to modern Israel.
- Continue our research in Berlin, following the lives and experiences of Israelis who have made their home here. What is the Israeli and Jewish cultural life like in Berlin? Do people encounter any anti-Semitism or prejudice? How does the average young Berliner, raised on stories of the city's horrific recent past, relate to the surge of Israeli culture in the city?
- Research other facets of Judaism in modern Berlin: former Soviet refugees, rabbinical schools, and German Jews that helped rebuild Berlin after the war.
This is not intended as a film for Jews alone. It's an exploration of how people who share such a profoundly divisive past are managing to forge a shared, more hopeful future.
Risks and challenges
Our greatest challenge is finding the right people to tell the story of Israelis in Berlin. We are not here to give anyone a soapbox for their political or religious views. We are here to tell the inexplicable story of how Israelis could chose Berlin as their home.
We have assembled a team of producers and writers to execute this film. We have producers and directors with decades of collective experience in documentary filmmaking (worldwide) guiding this project. We also have on-the-ground producers in Berlin gathering nominees for pre-interviews and inclusion in our film.
We have found an abundance of interest in the project and people willing to participate. What stands in our way of execution is funding. The amount of people we need to interview is large. We are telling a multifaceted story and one person alone cannot tell it.
There are political, religious, familial and artistic forces at play that may over shadow or need further examination to bolster our story. What we need is the time to sift through these stories and find the ones that best illuminate our film.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter