April 14, 2024
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CBY Screens Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front

Teaneck–This summer we said special tefilot (prayers) for our soldiers’ success during Operation Protective Edge and we mourned when our soldiers died. We worried about them and our loved ones in Israel. On Saturday night, November 22, at 8:00 p.m., The Adult Education Committee of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun will premier the screening of a new film from Jerusalem U entitled “Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front.” The 80-minute film, in a mix of Hebrew and English (with subtitles), is a coming-of-age story that follows five Israeli high school graduates along their eight-month journey from being drafted as high school students to transforming into combat soldiers. Along the way they learn important life lessons as well as learn who they are and who they want to be.

Jerusalem U provides exceptional educational programs that inspire a deeper connection to Israel and Judaism. Recognizing that many college students have never met an Israeli soldier, Jerusalem U felt it was critical to allow these young Jews the chance to understand the challenges their Israeli counterparts face during their army service and how the values and experiences instilled in their training can be applied to young people’s lives around the world.

According to Rebecca Shore, the film’s producer and writer, “I have two sons who have been in the military. Having seen what they went through and watching my sons evolve through their army service inspired me to do this. I don’t think I could have made the film if I hadn’t seen what my son, who saw active combat, went through. Doing the film gave me a sensitivity about this transformation and transition.”

The film took about two years to produce. “It was quite profound finishing the film in the wake of Operation Protective Edge,” Shore told the JLBC. “Most of the kids we filmed were in Gaza at the time. It was quite intense.”

Shore and Jerusalem U received approval from the IDF and with the help of an organization, Thank Israeli Soldiers, they were able to meet the commander who let them follow him and his soldiers. When they agreed to participate, both the commander and the IDF thought all Jerusalem U wanted was one shoot. When Shore and her team explained they wanted to shadow these five Israelis throughout the entire training, they were granted exceptional access by the IDF and filmed them 35 times.

Shore says she believes God worked in central casting for this film. They found the soldiers randomly: a commander (Eden), a lone soldier (Oren Giladi), an Ethiopian (Mekonan), a religious soldier (Elon) and a girl who originally thought she would evade army service (Coral). This diverse cross section of Israelis is exactly what one finds in the IDF.

Private Oren Giladi, the lone soldier from Switzerland, will be at the Teaneck screening and will address the audience.

Shore encourages everyone who comes to bring their kids. “It’s important for people to see this film. We’re showing a point of view that people have not seen. Even though it’s a documentary, it’s a story. It follows these kids’ lives. It raises a lot of issues. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry.”

The screening is free and open to the entire community. A collation will follow.

By Sara Kosowsky

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