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AMERICA REFRAMED: There Are Jews Here

Mickey holds the Torah, Latrobe, Pa.
Courtesy of Brad Lichtenstein, 371 /WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc.
Mickey holds the Torah, Latrobe, Pa. Struggling with aging congregants and dwindling interest, four once-thriving American Jewish communities are barely holding on in this affecting portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, celebrating religious diversity in small town America.

"There Are Jews Here" takes you on a journey to places where most never imagined Jews existed. In the wake of the tragedy in Pittsburgh, this story shifts our focus to Jewish persistence, community and continuity, offering stories of strength and resilience. The film follows the untold stories of four once thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on. Struggling with aging congregants and dwindling interest, families are moving to larger cities with more robust congregations and vibrant Jewish life.

There Are Jews Here | Trailer

  • In Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a synagogue manages to stay open long enough for the Bat Mitzvah of their oldest member's granddaughter.
  • In Butte, Montana, board member Nancy Oyer tries to do everything in her power to lead services and keep things together while struggling with her personal health.
  • In Laredo, Texas, a young interfaith couple is torn between reviving their dying community or leaving it behind.
  • And in Dothan, Alabama, a local philanthropist is offering financial incentives to those willing to make a new life in his city. The film follows a family from Los Angeles who takes up the offer.
In Dothan, Ala., Karen, Emily and a Rabbi light candles.
Courtesy of Brad Lichtenstein, 371 /WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc.
In Dothan, Ala., Karen, Emily and a Rabbi light candles.

"There Are Jews Here" is both a celebration of tenacity and a warning that the legacies of such communities could be lost forever. An affecting portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity and Jewish continuity in small town America.

“They’re people like you and me, trying to be dauntless in the face of hopelessness, as too many congregants pass away or move out of town. They’re Jews.” – Rob Golub, The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

"There Are Jews Here" is on Facebook

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The film is available on demand.

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A Menorah in a temple, Laredo, Texas
Courtesy of Brad Lichtenstein, 371 /WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc.
A Menorah in a temple, Laredo, Texas.

Credits:

Producer/Director: Brad Lichtenstein. Producer/Co-director: Morgan Elise Johnson. Editor: Matt Lauterbach. Director of Photography: Jason Longo. Composer: Vernon Reid. AMERICA REFRAMED is a co-production of the WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc.