Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
In a tragic twist of fate, the protagonist here -- anthropologist Dr. Barbara Myerhoff -- contracted cancer after filming began and did not survive to see the release of this documentary. Myerhoff's investigation into the spiritual and cultural meaning of the Jewish Hasidic community in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles is the focus of the film. As a result of her own negative prognosis, Myerhoff's interviews and interactions with the Hasidic community and its spiritual leaders acquired added meaning. What emerges is a broad view of a cultural and religious enclave that is not well-known outside its boundaries. Director Lynne Littman previously filmed an excellent post-holocaust drama, Testament (1983).