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Esther Broner: A Weave of Women
A film by Lilly Rivlin
US, 2013, 62 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W141128

Prolific writer, passionate activist, dedicated scholar and pioneering feminist, Esther Broner infused second wave feminism with a distinctive Jewish voice. In the mid-1970s, as the womenís movement was vastly changing views on gender and equality, Broner created a radical new Haggadah (the text for the Passover service seder) that preserved but reimagined Jewish rituals and culture by shifting the focus onto women. Transforming the male-centered service into a powerful reclamation of womenís lives and stories, it became, under Bronerís leadership, the basis for a Jewish feminist tradition that continues today.

This inspiring documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Lilly Rivlin revisits Bronerís richly engaged political, artistic and spiritual life through archival photos, video footage spanning several decades, and interviews with family and friends, including Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Grace Paley, and other famous feminists. Drawing its title from one of Bronerís celebrated novels, the film helps explore the intersection of feminism and religion, and helps answer the question, is there room for feminism and religious tradition in a traditionally male dominated space?



AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS

  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • Seattle Jewish Film Festival
  • Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
  • Boston Jewish Film Festival
  • Haifa Jewish Film Festival
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival

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QUOTES

    ďWeaving together readings of Bronerís prose, documentary photographs, interviews, and footage from many of these Seders, the film goes a long way towards evoking Bronerís unique contributions towards feminism, Judaism and literature, documenting and celebrating the breadth of one womenís legacy.Ē
    Jewish Daily Forward

    "A film by a remarkable woman about another remarkable woman...This is a film for Jewish Studies, for Documentary Studies, for Gender Studies, and for those who simply want to know more about a transformational group of women."
    Alex Keller, Dir.
    Film Studies Program, Smith College

    "What a deeply fascinating and heartfelt portrait of Esther. It's an important documentation that brilliantly captured a complex multi layered woman who dares challenging the norms of her time."
    Ariel Jordan
    Filmmaker/Writer

    "Rivlinís tribute to Esther Bronerís life reminds us of the energy and passion with which the first generation of American Jewish feminists engaged with Jewish ritual, liturgy, and traditions. As a result, modern Judaism is more colorful, inclusive, and meaningful. In the film, Broner reminds us that the work of Jewish feminism must extend to the wider world, to alleviating poverty and inequality everywhere."
    Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman
    Director of Jewish Studies and Humanities Cnt, Northeastern Univ.

    "Rivlin captures Bronerís big heart, wildly inventive mind, compassion and her loud, infectious, frequent laugh. Her strong storytelling skills are also evidentÖ"
    The Jewish Weekly

    "The film is a gift, of a time, documented so we can feel again how fresh it was to be in the presence of passionate women creating beauty/power/community, feeling it rise out from under."
    Myra Shapiro
    Poet

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