Oldies but goodies, “Man plans and G-D laughs”, and “G-D has plans larger than anything we can dream up”…
When Mom (Marvell Ginsburg) was at the end of her life, we discussed doing something more with her beloved book The Tattooed Torah. Translating it into Hebrew was a logical step, I pursued publishing it into Hebrew. After she passed my trail went cold, that is another post.
I sat quietly/meditated, I promised Mom I’d do something. I began having vivid dreams about making her book into a film. I thought “Are you kidding”? I was intimidated and told Marvell (in dreams, meditating/asleep) I couldn’t do it. The dreams kept coming, one day I agreed. I had no idea where to begin nor what impact the film would have but I had a question… Could we reach a wider audience in film rather than in print?
I stumbled into producing the movie. Each time I threw “a pebble into the pond”, the concentric circles surrounding the pebble expanded infinitely. Each new contact brought new connections, with a vast interesting circle of friends and communal ties. I followed the bread crumbs putting together a stellar team.
I began blogging to bring a clearer understanding of what world Jewry looks like from either side of the Atlantic. The world and (most Jews) don’t understand the exotic blend which makes up our mosaic cultures/tribes, each one unique unto themselves. We have as much in common with each other as differences. When I began following the “Yellow Brick Road” of film production I realized blogging about the movie from behind a camera lens would provide a unique perspective, bringing light unto our people (from outside and within).
Many of this year’s posts have been about the making of our film, focusing on individual team members, expressing my eternal gratitude. There are silent team members that I need to thank and highlight. The group of people with whom we (Beth and Dr. Jeffrey Kopin) share the title Executive Producer are Melinda Goldrich of The Goldrich Family Foundation, Stephen D Smith of USC Shoah Foundation, Aliza and Guillermo Liberman and Kimberly and Bradley Schlosser. Executive producers play an extremely important role, they primarily fund and help promote the film.
Our film took an amazing turn when Melinda attended a USC Shoah board meeting in Latin America. She met Aliza (fellow board member) from Panama. Aliza learned about our film, decided to fund the Spanish version, and added Portuguese subtitles. Aliza saw there was nothing/little in Spanish to educate the youth in Latin America about the Holocaust.
Continuing to build the team: #12 Fernando Allende (Spanish Narrator). We found Latin American superstar Fernando Allende along with his actor son Adan Allende. They heard our story, loved the mission and joined our team. We translated the screenplay, brought them into the studio and recorded the Spanish version. It happened so fast I was stunned.
The Latin American film/entertainment industry is something I knew little about. Fernando is the Latin American equivalent of an Academy Award and Emmy winning performing artist, with a stellar crossover career in the US. The richness he brought to our screenplay is indescribable. Although I don’t speak Spanish, I can almost decipher the story through his lush voice which is emotional, lyrical and filled with love. Bless you Fernando and Adan for making our story accessible to the Spanish speaking world.
The Libermans and Allendes were planning on hosting the Latin American Premiere in their hometowns in Panama and Mexico, then covid hit… They coordinated a virtual screening including 10 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) where 1000 educators from the Jewish communities registered/participated. We played the Spanish version of the film, followed by a team presentation. The panel included Melinda, Aliza, Marc, Fernando and Adan, with a presentation from USC Shoah Foundation about the launch (January/English, February/Spanish) of the film and online educational platform, IWitness. www.sfi.usc.edu
Our Film’s Mission…Global Impact
Where are the reclaimed Torah scrolls living throughout the world? 1400 of the 1564 scrolls found homes in 1300 communities around the globe (several in Chicago). Latin America has a few scrolls (Santiago and Buenos Aires). The remaining scrolls live in London at The Westminster Synagogue (they are beyond repair, not Kosher).
The impact these precious scrolls are having on each community fortunate enough to have one is profound. Each Torah represents the community from which they came, now living “in a new pond”. Our film teaches many concepts: the importance of tradition thus educating the next generation, respecting others’ sacred ritual artifacts/beliefs, eternal light and redemption. For more information on the scrolls see Memorial Scrolls Trust, www.memorialscrollstrust.com
Plans for our film
There is little content geared towards the young on the Holocaust. Our message is incredibly timely. To expand our reach we are adding subtitles in a variety of languages, and hoping to narrate the film into other languages as well, next on my wish list is Hebrew.
We plan on publishing the expanded version of Mom’s story (reflecting the screenplay). We own all remaining copies of The Tattooed Torah in soft and hard cover. Anyone interested in owning a copy or two please contact Beth Kopin at: email@example.com
We entered the Academy Awards, are in twenty five festivals, won four. The LA Jewish Film Festival is Dec. 7, 2020 4:00 PST, to see our film and team presentation for free, please register. www.lajfilmfest.org
Click on Vimeo above for Spanish trailer…www.thetattooedtorah.com