With much of America focused on Hollywood after Sunday’s Academy Awards, it’s an appropriate time to discuss the upcoming film A Mighty Heart. The film (which stars Angelina Jolie as the protagonist’s wife Marianna) depicts the life of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed by terrorists. A Mighty Heart is tentatively scheduled for release in the summer of 2007.
Often, the Jewish community does not have much lead time to prepare for such public events - but now we have plenty. Thankfully, no one has talked about the fact that Pearl was intermarried, nor asked about how their child is to be raised. Perhaps these issues will be discussed in the film. While the Jewish community may care about intermarriage, terrorists seem not to care at all. So why not organize some community outings to the theater when the film is released? What else can be done to develop the film into a low-barrier, “Public Space Judaism” event on those Saturday nights when people spend their leisure time at the movies and you simply want them to stumble over a Jewish experience and come away discussing some pertinent issues?
Inside the theatre, why not have a raffle for copies of I Am Jewish, a book of personal reflections inspired by Daniel Pearl’s last words? While not everyone could win a book, it would be ideal if it could be arranged so that simply entering the raffle would win you a coupon for a free drink or appetizer at a local bar or restaurant immediately following the screening where you and your staff/volunteers are prepared to engage folks in discussion. Such an unobtrusive name-collection tool will also make follow-up possible. Make sure that you have planned a follow-up event prior to the program itself—so that you have something to recommend at the movie, at the follow-up discussion, and on the follow-up calls that we recommend, as well.