I have referred to www.tremblingbeforeg-d.com, the "official" website.

Trembling Before G-d is a documentary about the lives of Orthodox and Hasidic gay and lesbian Jews in the United States, England, and Israel. With his film director Sandi Simcha DuBowski explores a question not unique to Judaism. DuBowski questions the ability for people of deep religious faith to maintain their devotion in the face of incompatibility with doctrine.

DuBowski makes an attempt to get a wide spectrum of people, from a young, out, and doctrinally lukewarm man to a deeply closeted, fearful woman trapped within an abusive and contractual marriage. Many will never speak to their parents again; most sense an estrangement from a community frequently more important than his or her biological family. In the case of a lesbian couple featured in the documentary, one partner's parents would only call just before the Sabbath to check up with her. They only agreed to call once a week after their rabbi insinuated that not to call would impact their spiritual well-being. One scene depicts the woman having a limited conversation with her parents, pleasantries lasting no more than a few minutes. Breaking down in front of the camera, she relates how her parents only call "to get on the good side" of God and doctrine. The segment effectively shows how familes can be torn apart because the religious community takes some priority over family bonds.

One technical observation is the use of subtitles in a film predominately in the English language. DuBowski wisely chose to include subtitles explaining Jewish terms and Hebrew words. The subtitles considered words in context, presenting the entire English sentence with the translation of terminology italicized. Having never seen this presentation before, I was amazed at the ease with which I could follow, at least superficially, meanings of terms. Whether or not these translations were accurate only an observant and studied Jewish person could tell. For the non-Jew, a boon.

The film is quite controversial in (mainly orthodox) Jewish circles. The website cites an article from the Jerusalem Post in which the author questions the absence of Jewish people who have successfully completed conversion therapy and have gone on to marry or mend marriages. Politics aside, Trembling Before G-d is a valuable film not because it is Jewish or gay, but in spite of it. Most people at one point in their lives have questioned their religious commitments or lack of, and have to make a choice to continue commitment. Sometimes, it's not possible to keep a stake in every available option.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.