Rivaling the greatest wooden architecture in history, the synagogues of 18th-century Poland—the last of which were destroyed by the Nazis— inspired artists Rick and Laura Brown to embark on a 10-year pursuit to reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of the Gwoںdziec synagogue. Aided by a team of 300 artisans and students, the show-stopping building was realized and installed as the centerpiece of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. This beautifully photographed... [see more] film chronicles this ambitious project against the backdrop of the 1000-year history of Jews in Poland. By the end of the project, they had done more than reconstruct a lost synagogue; they recovered a lost world. "How often do you get a chance to reach deep into history and bring something back?"-Rick Brown. Raise the Roof has enjoyed a wildly successful film festival run, screening at more than 150 film festivals and winning six Best Documentary Awards. The "Raise the Roof" project has received wide press coverage, including in The New York Times, New Republic, The Boston Globe, CNN, Tablet, Forbes. "[The reconstruction] is a majestic jewel box of a sanctuary, a reminder that the world of the shtetl was not simply a domain of poverty and despair but also a thing of beauty." --The New Republic
The National Center for Jewish Film is an independent, non-profit film archive, distributor and exhibitor. The Center, housed at Brandeis University, owns the world's largest collection of Jewish-content film. Its unique collection includes silent, vaudeville and Yiddish films, newsreels, institutional films, and home movies; the earliest dating back to 1903. The Center's priority is the rescue of rare and endangered film materials and it has restored hundreds of films that document the diversity and vibrancy of Jewish culture. The dynamic films selected for the JEWISH FILM SHOWCASE are representative of the breadth and depth of the collection's holdings.