Ushpizin (guests): a movie

UshpizinI love holidays. I have embraced them with joy, even as a nonbeliever — both in the USA and when I lived abroad. Last night I thoroughly enjoyed the Israeli (Hebrew) 2004 film: Ushpizin. The film uses the Jewish Holy Day called “Succoth” to show us a glimpse of an Israeli family’s Orthodox Jewish faith and much more. I will let you read about both the movie and the holiday on your own. I highly recommend it. I found the movie very touching — even if I could criticize the faith in magic on several levels. For on other levels, I feel the beauty was clear.

The film’s writer, Shuli Rand, is also the main actor and is superb!  His real-life wife is his wife in the film and equally amazing. Rand is actually a Haradi Jew (ultra-conservative).  Read the links if you are interested.

“Ushpizin” took me back to my days when I was enamored with Judaism which occurred in the beginning of my slow exit from Christianity.  I seriously entertained of embracing Judaism in those days. For, as my biographical supernatural and mystical posts state, I had a mystical temperament and though I was leaving the exclusivist-believism Christianity around me, I wanted to preserve “God” (the label I still used for my experiences).

I started my short Jewish journey by attending a reformed synagogue for a year in Chicago: going to both Friday service, Saturday morning study with the men and celebrating festivals – Succoth being one. The next year, I moved to Madison Wisconsin where I joined an Israeli dance troupe as I entertained going to Israel and joining a kibbutz. Perhaps later I will share later why that didn’t happen.

I wanted to share my background to show you why I might appreciate this film more than you may. But if you are an exclusivist Christian, I recommend this film which may slightly stretch your view of who should be saved. If you are a “all-religion-is-dumb” atheist, this film may stretch your view’s categorical simplicity — well, maybe not. And if you are like me, the cultural trip is wonderful!

— See my other film posts here.


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