Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The Lior in question, who not only stands at the center of Ilana Trachtman's documentary Praying with Lior but forms its heart and soul, is Lior Liebling, a Jewish boy with Down syndrome. Though Lior's genetic condition debilitates him in many ways and on many levels, he clings to two inner sources of transcendence and strength: his irrepressible sense of humor and an unusually heightened faith in the religious beliefs and traditions of his forefathers. In fact, when Lior lapses into prayer (or davening) and worship, he enters a state comparable to a rapture, and his love spreads like a blaze to the others around him. He faces one of his most formidable obstacles familially, in the form of a new stepmother and stepsiblings, but instantly wins them over as well. Significantly, Lior will soon embark on his bar mitzvah, that rite of passage for all Jewish preadolescents; Trachtman captures every contour and nuance of the young man's experience as the event draws ever nearer, and witnesses the ways in which Lior's family and spiritual environment help to determine and mold his identity and sense of self at this critical time.
Down-syndrome, devotion [dedication], Jewish, prayer, singer