New Documentary on Marriage in Israel

What does it mean to live in a Jewish democracy? More specifically, what does it mean to navigate marriage in a religious democracy? That’s the question Amy Oppenheimer tries to answer in her new documentary Faces of Israel: A Discussion about Marriage, State and Religion in the Jewish Homeland.
Check out the website to learn more – you can also watch the trailer. This is an important topic, and we would love to hear from anyone who has either seen the film or is planning to.

Oppenheimer, a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University where she pursued a degree in International Relations and Jewish Studies, has created a documentary that tries to look “what it means to live in both a Jewish and democratic state, and offers a variety of answers to these questions through the lens of the Israeli marriage process.” The documentary aims for balance, interviewing everyone from ordinary citizens to rabbinic leaders who put forth their point of view.

The documentary is especially relevant these days because of the recent dust-up over Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman’s call to allow civil unions. As it stands, a marriage under the auspices of the Rabbinate is allowed, forcing many couples to travel abroad to get married. This topic is covered in the documentary, along with the role of the Rabbinate in general, questions of inclusivity, same-sex unions, and a host of others.

There is a schedule of upcoming screenings posted on the movie’s website, or you can contact the director and have the film screened in your community. Either way, we hope many folks get a chance to see the movie and become a part of this debate.


  1. I’m glad to hear that JOI has taken an interest in the film and I look forward to bringing Faces of Israel around the country in the coming year.

    Due to an upload issue, the subtitles in the YouTube trailer are slightly off, but you can access the high-quality, updated version by visiting:


    Comment by Amy Beth Oppenheimer — April 1, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  2. The Riverdale debut was wonderful. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking film - worth showing to a wide viewership of synagogues and Jewish institutions around the country and beyond!

    Comment by (Rabbi) Steven Exler — April 1, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  3. Amy you did such a great job with your film. I wish you much success with your film going foward!

    Comment by Jonathan M — April 1, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  4. Er… don’t you realise that by favoring the abolition of the Orthodox monopoly on marriage in Israel, you and Avigdor Lieberman are working together?

    Comment by Dave — April 5, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  5. The film eloquently addresses differing perspectives on how major issues are confronted within the state of Israel and does so with sensitivity and genuine consideration. This is an important film that sheds light on issues that affect the state of Israel and the Jewish nation as a whole and strongly encourages us to broaden our perspective concerning these issues and their possible solutions.

    Comment by Alana — April 5, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

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