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April 29, 2009

Faith and Love

Ushpizin is a charming movie that plays like a fairy tale and uses a love story to ultimately tell us a story of faith. Malli and Moshe are Orthodox Jews living in Jerusalem who have more than just a lack of money to contend with. After years of marriage, they’ve been unable to conceive a child. The movie takes place during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot where it’s customary for Jews to eat and live in a temporary shelter called a Sukkah. It is also a great honor to entertain guests in the Sukkah, but unfortunately for Moshe and Malli, they have no money to build a proper Sukkah, let alone entertain guests. The couple, always praying for a miracle, receives a gift from Moshe’s yeshiva (orthodox Jewish school) and with the money comes the ability to celebrate the holiday in the manner they’d like, as well as some guests from Moshe’s past. To tell more would be to reveal too many spoilers.

The movie takes most viewers into a world they have little, or no, experience with and seeing that lifestyle and the attitudes is very interesting. While Moshe isn’t Tevye, and while Ushpizin isn’t Fiddler on the Roof, this is a highly enjoyable and heartfelt movie that takes the viewer on a journey they can’t help but be sympathetic to and leaves the viewer thinking about their own belief and faith. Strange, but as I finish typing this the line from the Grateful Dead’s Scarlet Begonias runs through my head – “Once in awhile you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

I rate this movie a 10 out of 10 and would recommend it to anyone. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

© 2009 by Michael Fishman

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