section Documentary Film Competition

Rabbi On The Block

  • Brad Rothschild
  • US
  • 2023
  • 88

Tamar Manasseh has a mission. For her, being Jewish means being socially engaged, breaking down prejudice, and caring for the disadvantaged – a herculean task if you are active in Englewood, a social hotspot in Chicago. As a woman, Jew and African American, she experiences firsthand what discrimination means on a daily basis.

Tamar sparkles with energy in everything she says and does - and that's a lot. She is fighting on many fronts since the road to equality is still long - not only in America, but also in the Jewish community.
Although she is deeply steeped in the Jewish faith and tirelessly engages in grassroots work with her project MASK (Mothers Against Senseless Killings), she nevertheless encounters reservations and racism. Ashkenazi communities still struggle to recognise African Americans.

Tamar Manasseh doesn't dwell on theoretical trench warfare for long however; she takes action. With her socio-cultural center in the middle of what is a crime hotspot, she provides spiritual guidance, education and solidarity in the community. And at the same time fights for her big dream: to become a rabbi.

Text: Rainer Mende
English: Peter Rickerby


original title Rabbi On The Block

international title Rabbi On The Block

german title Rabbi On The Block

JFBB section Documentary Film Competition

  • director Brad Rothschild

country/countries US

year 2023

duration 88

Portrait of Brad Rothschild

Brad Rothschild

BIO Director/Producer Brad Rothschild produced the documentary feature, Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald (2012). He directed the documentary film Tree Man (2015) which streamed on Netflix for three years. He produced and directed the documentary film African Exodus (2021), about the plight of Israel’s African refugees and the documentary film They Ain’t Ready for Me (2020), which screened at over 100 film festivals, Jewish community centers and synagogues. Brad’s written work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, The Forward, and The Times of Israel. He lives in New York City.