By Jodi Rudoren for The Forward

There is a moment smack in the middle of the sprawling, subversive new documentary Sabbath Queen where the film’s subject, Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, explodes with anger. It is 2014, during the last major Israel-Hamas war, and he is at a protest holding a sign that says “Stand with Israel/Mourn with Gaza” when a woman calls him a mamzer, Hebrew for “bastard.”

“Mamzer?” the Israeli-born Lau-Lavie responds with a native accent and equally authentic outrage. “My father’s a Holocaust survivor.”

“You don’t belong, carrying a sign like that,” the woman fairly spits.

“And I’m a bastard?” he counters in genuine disbelief.

“Yes, you are,” she insists. “That’s what you are. You should have died with them.”

The film, 21 years in the making, began as a biopic of the Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross, a drag character Lau-Lavie embodied for years who dispenses wisdom through a thick Eastern European accent and thicker false eyelashes. It morphed into a meditation on intermarriage along with Lau-Lavie, a descendant of a 1,000-year dynasty of Orthodox rabbis who surprised everybody by not just deciding to become a rabbi himself but doing so at the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary.

And then, like so many things, it changed again after Oct. 7, to be about war and peace but mostly about what it was always fundamentally about — and what so many Jewish conversations these days are about: Boundaries.

Read full article here >

King David's Pride Party
Do We Not All Share One Father?