Filmmaker Gloria Greenfield explores the Jewish people’s historical connection to the land of Israel in her new film, “Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation.” I spoke with her about her newest project and her own favorite spot in Israel. The New England premiere of the film is Tuesday, Oct. 28 in Boston, and is co-sponsored by CJP.
Tell me about your new film project, “Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation.”
The film presents a comprehensive examination of the broad and deep connections between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. World-renowned historians, archaeologists, political scientists, religious leaders and international law and media experts trace the evocative evolution of the relationship between the Jewish people and their homeland, which is more than 3,000 years old.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom declared: “Jewish identity is born in a journey to the land of Israel.” That journey moves through antiquity to the Middle Ages and then to modernity, where the development of political Zionism catalyzed the blossoming of a new Jewish spirit. That renewal of Jewish spirit resulted in the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in the land, an event that Harvard University professor Ruth Wisse declared “a miracle of truly biblical proportions.”
Islamist ideologues understand the power of rewriting history and they have broadened their campaign to destroy the nation-state of the Jewish people with the erasure of Jewish history and the creation of pseudo-history. We can all recall other dark times in our history when enemies of the Jewish nation utilized the “big lie” for genocidal intent. And that’s why “Body and Soul” had to be made—to set the record straight. To present the undeniable historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and to debunk the propaganda, myths and misinformation that have been accepted by so many.
There are so many interesting people featured in your film. Who was your favorite person to interview?
I conducted 51 interviews with leading experts from Canada, France, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Although only 36 of the experts appear in the film, all 51 interviews made enormous contributions to the scope of the film. I feel deep gratitude to each and every one of them for their generosity in time and spirit to the project, and I’m in awe of their individual and collective expertise.
Your film was finished before Operation Protective Edge. Would you have done anything differently if editing it today?
I worked very hard to stay on track with the intended focus of “Body and Soul”—to clearly and accurately establish the historical connection between the land of Israel and the Jewish people from antiquity through the present day; to examine the national rights of Jews, in particular the right to state-level self-determination; and to expose the campaign to erase Jewish history. There wouldn’t have been any significant changes or modifications if I had concluded editing this fall, rather than in late June.
What’s your favorite spot in all of Israel?
I have two favorite spots: the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion Airport, because every time I arrive in Israel I feel more alive, and Jerusalem, the undivided capital of the State of Israel.
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!