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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Religion > Shorts > TV > The Dybbuk (1960/E1 DVD) + The World of Sholom Aleichem (E1 DVD)

The Dybbuk (1960/E1 DVD) + The World of Sholom Aleichem (E1 DVD)


Picture: D     Sound: D     Extras: D     Main Programs: C



A young woman becomes possessed by her former lover when her father arranges her marriage to a more wealthy suitor.  Now the angry spirit is unwilling to let go his 'bride' and the father is forced to summon the rabbi to exorcise this spirit from her daughter, but who and why is this spirit there?  The past is revealed and a long forgotten promise made by her father is remembered...
This is the age old tale of 'Romeo and Juliet' with a Jewish twist.  A story of two star-crossed lovers who were promised to each other even before they where born.  Years later after they grew up, fate brought them together once more, but when the girl's father forgets his promise, tragedy strikes and the youth dies of broken heart.  Now his spirit reside in young woman's body preventing her impending marriage, leaving the girl's father little choice but to summon a rabbi to save her daughter.  Only the power of the rabbi can exorcise this spirit... but not without revealing the truth.
This was a Jewish story, a 'Dybbuk' is said to be a spirit which resides in the body of another until it has no more regrets and is 'purified'.  This was not only a tale of young tragic love, but also a tale to teach Jewish values and traditions, to obey the father, to not forget promises, and in the end the rabbi always has the final word.  You could tell the play was written to instill these values for a Jewish audience, that without respect and obedience to elders only leads to tragedy.




This second disc consists of three short plays which was written by Sholom Aleichem, who claimed to be the Yiddish Mark Twain, or was credited as such.  Three different tales of Jewish people, how they view the world, how they lived their lives with laughter and dignity. "A Tale of Chelm", "Bontche Schweig", and "The High School".
In the "Tale of Chelm" is about a town full of Jews, how foolish, practical jokes are played on one another and then to laugh about themselves afterwards.  In "Bontche Schweig" is the tale of man who died an entered the gates of heaven, after suffering all his life angels pleads his case before God.  And in "The High School" is about a young boy who wants to attend high school for a modern education but then encounters discrimination for his faith.


These short stories were like sort of like Aesop's fairy tales, teaching other how to laugh at the mistakes of foolish behavior, to live life humbly, and the enduring spirit of Jewish suffering in modern culture.  It shows the values and spirit of which Jews are supposed to be so proud of.


I thought both were average overall, but that the picture and sound were just too rough, but those interested will want to check them out just the same as they are sincere efforts, though I wonder if one has to really know Judaism to really get the full impact.



-   Ricky Chiang


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