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Chicago Film Premiere of TORN, Directed by Ronit Kertsner
Chicago Film Premiere of TORN, Directed by Ronit KertsnerSunday, June 24, 2012 2:00 pm
TORN is a compelling documentary about Father Romuald Waszkinel, a Catholic priest whose identity is turned inside out when he learns, on his mother's deathbed, that his parents were Jews who gave him to Polish Catholic neighbors to save him from the Holocaust.
Father Waszkinel, who was named Jakub Weksler by his birth parents, decides at the age of 67 to leave Poland for Israel, where he hopes to live as both a Catholic and a Jew. The film sensitively documents his struggles as he seeks employment, citizenship, and community, but finds his exceptional circumstances make it difficult for him to be fully accepted by either Jewish or Catholic religious groups.
Directed by Israeli director Ronit Kertsner (Menachem & Fred, The Secret, and I, The Aforementioned Infant), TORN was nominated for best feature-length documentary in 2011 by the Israeli Documentary Forum Awards. Kertsner — whose film The Secret also explores stories of Polish citizens who, after living a lifetime as Christians, discover they are of Jewish descent — said that of all the Jewish children saved by Polish citizens, she knew of no others becoming priests.
A post-screening discussion featured Rabbi David Sandmel, who serves as Rabbi-Educator at Chicago's Temple Sholom and holds the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies at the Catholic Theological Union and his colleague, Father John Pawlikowski, professor of Ethics and Director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union.
Both Rabbi Sandmel and Father Pawlikowski have worked extensively to promote dialogue between Catholics and Jews.
This program was part of the Solomon Goldman Lecture Series, generously endowed by Rose and the late Sidney Shure.