WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
We come from the Arab World, a region that has -for decades- been nurtured on the concept of Israel ‘the enemy’. Indeed, we grew up studying the wars between our countries and the unbalanced world support to the establishment of one state and not the other.
Wrestling Jerusalem is a genuine attempt at portraying ‘what lies behind’. We all yearn for peace, stability and peaceful coexistence. However, our concerns and fears are also igniting the hatred of the other. We liked the movie so much to the point that we went to watch it for a second time and are willing to go for the third. It’s a very unique attempt at showing the reality through the lens of the real protagonists while leaving you room to come up to your own conclusions. There are no attempts at imposing views or siding with one against the other. It’s indeed a must see and must propagate movie, not only here in the States, but more importantly in Israel! We hope one day, political leaders would watch such artistic works, listen to their peoples and learn to make the right decisions...
-- Mokhtaria and Mayssa, interpreters, New York City
Wrestling Jerusalem is a "must see / must experience" not only for anyone who cares about Israel and/or Palestine and the Middle East, but for anyone who cares about the human condition in our hyper-polarized world. Having been several of the characters so powerfully portrayed by Davidman -- a Hebron settler, a proud if mostly secular Zionist, a rabbinic peace activist, a guide to both settlements and refugee camps -- I appreciate both the authenticity of the portrayals, and the necessity of hearing as many of them as possible, however much we may agree with them or not. Wrestling Jerusalem is nothing less than a master class in the art of understanding others without losing our own personal integrity -- a crucial skill we all need, wherever our lives happen to take us.
-- Rabbi Brad Hirshfield, President of Clal - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
The NYC Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee screened Wrestling Jerusalem as part of our Compassionate Conversations program. This film was a perfect fit, because of the authentic and wholehearted way Aaron Davidman portrays 17 different relatable characters' perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The screening presented a rare opportunity for our interfaith community to challenge themselves, confront their biases and instinctive disdain toward certain characters by listening to the stories portrayed so brilliantly by Aaron. While the screening evoked intense emotions, the crowd was able to have a respectful discussion, reminding us that progress toward peace is only possible with compassionate conversations.
-- Michelle Koch, Executive Director
In our work with senior leaders in a large global technology firm, we were looking for a way to not only talk about taking multiple perspectives, but give the leaders a deep felt experience of true engagement, profound listening, and the power of understanding a complex issue deeply before rushing into simple solutions. Wrestling Jerusalem and the conversations with Aaron afterward open not only the minds of these sophisticated leaders, but also their hearts. They refer back to the experience and the way it changes the way they think about listening, problem solving—and the very act of leadership. I cannot imagine a better way to open leaders to the possibility of an entirely different way of seeing the world.
- Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston, authors: Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practice for Leaders and founders: Cultivating Leadership www.cultivatingleadership.com
It’s fair to say that we actually wrestled with our decision to bring Wrestling Jerusalem into our community. Was there a political agenda to this film? Were we able to listen to “the other” and have a civil, respectful conversation about it? We were ready for this?
Fast forward to the end of a day that featured a Wrestling Jerusalem Teen Summit, community screening and post-film conversation. What a day! We continued to wrestle - politely and constructively-with the complexities of the conflict, how this powerful work reflected our own inner struggles, our feelings of hope and despair for the future, and the all-too-common reiteration of the current problems with few truly viable solutions. The one word that continues to resurface after the screening was “powerful.” What more could you ask for from a program designed to engage a meaningful dialogue? During the post-film conversation, one congregant stood up and said, “This is the most important film I have ever seen in my life. Thank you.”
We are looking forward to a re-screening, continued discussions and more opportunities to change the conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thank you Aaron and the Wrestling Jerusalem team for the gift of this amazing work. It is so relevant, so necessary and so crucial.
-- Norman Einhorn, Director of Member Engagement, Har Zion Temple, Philadelphia
I just wanted to let you that my girlfriend and I saw the movie tonight at The Royal Cinema in Toronto and we were simply amazed by everything you did with this. I – a movie lover as long as I can imagine – have not seen a piece of art like yours that affected me so deeply the last few years. My girlfriend and I went to Israel last year – for me it was the second time – and we never thought about getting this emotional time travel before walking into the cinema. We liked your trailer obviously and your topic so we decided to spend a nice and somewhat intellectual night in town. And right now we might have troubles falling asleep. From a passionate moviegoer standpoint we had a great time with top-notch entertainment and some of the best acting we have ever experienced. From a religious standpoint I for myself am inspired to know more about the Kabbala and other mystical movements. And from a political point of view we are grateful for such a broad but at the same time diverse overview.
To sum this up … first this email is a big “Thank you” to everybody who was involved in the movie. And second we wanted to know whether you are planning to visit Germany with “Wrestling Jerusalem” or if you know when it will be possible to order a DVD. Because we have to rewatch this. Thanks again and greeting from two backpackers from Germany.
- Lukas and Maren