"Not on every day of his life does a man stand and get the honor and the privilege to share his perspective on life thru a rich movie with colors, photos, music, poetry and above all - Human beings."
With these words I started my speech on April the 6th at the gala screening of my documentary movie "My Class" at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv. In July 2015 I joined a Habima and Cameri theatre trip to the Balkans. We visited four states, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia. The aim of the trip was to stage the play "Our Class" which deals with the Holocaust, a play originally written in Polish and translated into Hebrew. From many standpoints, the "Our Class" trip was also my own inner journey to my class in Jerusalem, and that was the reason why I made my movie.
In the movie I show, besides the scenes from the play which I deliberately put in black and white, the breathtaking views and moving events which I witnessed during the trip and which constituted a contrast to the contents of the play. My aim was to show that the Jewish people survived even after all the horrible events which it suffered in the course of history, especially during the Holocaust, and that all the nations in the world should build and not destroy, to make peace instead of war, and to insure that such a holocaust will never happen again.
Many people who took part in bringing the play "Our Class" to the Balkans participated in the gala screening, the ambassadors of Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Angola, and the Israeli ambassador to Macedonia, Dan Oryan, and the Israeli ambassador to Malta and Moldova, David Oren, and well as business partners, actors and others. The guest of honor at the event was the deputy minister of culture of Macedonia. Certainly, all the tremendous effort which was invested in the project was worth it and definitely exciting. Besides mentioning in my movie the fact that Israel and Macedonia are celebrating twenty years of diplomatic relations, I pointed out the fact that other relations are growing also with the other Balkan countries, and I felt that the gala screening was another cultural brick uniting human beings together.
Being a personal movie, I also said in my speech: "My movie is like a creative dish of food, and each one of you is invited to taste and judge." The fact that I received a large number of varied reactions made me feel proud that I had created something to talk about, whether some liked it or not, or some thought that I should add more materials or change some of them. I didn't pretend to make comparison between the story of the Holocaust which was brought thru the play "Our Class" to my own story with my class in Jerusalem as a pupil, but to share my associations which arose during the tour, due of the fact that in my class sometimes I also suffered discrimination and had to protect myself.
The movie is also not about the actors or the play, even when I'm showing them. I was like a walking shadow who documented them thru my perspective, and the reason I did that is because I really believe that we should keep telling our history to our children, even the horrible events, in order to educate them to improve our world to be a better place to live in. Some of you who know me as a poet maybe will understand my hidden message by reading this poem which I'm read in the movie:
On the outskirts of Podgorica
Next to the melon shed
I saw from a distance a farmer
Raising his scythe.
When he cut with a sharp blow
I felt how my soul was split in two -
The one whose past does not let go,
And the one whose future is yet before it,
And I chose you
And I chose the future.
At the end of the movie I put the song "Hands Across the Mountains" by David Ben Reuven, who translated the subtitles of the movie into English, and I thought that this song was a perfect choice because my philosophy, even if it sounds pretentious, us that if all human beings will unite and hold their hands across mountains and oceans we will create a better world.
I dedicated this movie to my late father and my beloved mother, and to my children, with the hope that the message of my movie will be understood by all, and if so, that will be my gain.