When Alan Goldman's son was born, he was not only faced with the decision of whether to circumcise him but also with the realization that Sacha was not actually Jewish. So begins a journey that asks, "What does it mean to be Jewish?" Alan's peregrinations take him from Vancouver to Orthodox communities in Crown Heights, New York, where the faithful debate points of scripture. From Jewish rappers to a lesbian couple who wants their adopted Chinese daughter to have a traditional Bat Mitzvah, Judaism means different things to different people. While some people maintain that ËœGod-optional Judaism" does not exist, others see this as a benefit: "That's the point of being a Jew, you don't have to believe in God."
A charming guide, Alan endures everything from dressing up as Santa Claus for his son's Christmas party, to being harangued by his family, even his grandfather, who declares himself an atheist after reading Sam Harris's book The End of Faith. "I no longer believe in God" he says, "Poppycock."
If Alan can figure out Judaism's relevance in his own life, he can pass on this knowledge to help his son find his place in the Jewish world. Eventually, he uncovers a progressive, re-invigorated Judaism that embraces a multiplicity of people. With humour, warmth, and a generous spirit, Who The Jew Are You? travels full circle back to the love a father has for his son.
Alan began his career in radio and was part of the award-winning team that produced the five part national CBC Radio documentary series A Matter of Survival, hosted by Dr. David Suzuki. Moving to television Alan produced and directed All Day Breakfast, a documentary exploring the culture of Toronto's diner restaurants. He then worked with the director Robert Duncan on Weird and Wonderful, and The Funny Side of Death. Alan also produced Glowing In The Dark, which looks at the history of neon light in Vancouver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. His semi-autobiographical film Who The Jew Are You? premiered recently at the Doxa Documentary Film Festival.
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