Viewer Feedback

Faces of Israel released to the public in mid-2009 as a constantly evolving and updating program, and has been met with great success! Here is some of the feedback we have received:

Synagogues (Cross-Denominational)

In an age of soundbites, oversimplification and pigeon-holing, Faces of Israel boldly addresses the complex issue of Jewish identity in Israel. The film presents a balanced, nuanced portrait of Israeli society and the multiple attitudes among Israelis towards what the Jewish character of the State should be. Amy is also a dynamic speaker and teacher. I highly recommend public screenings of the film with her on hand. She facilitates discussion with grace and interprets complex issues in an accessible and engaging way, during the course of which she inspires the audience to articulate their own visions of an ideal Jewish state.

-Rabbi Eddie Bernstein, Rabbi at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood, Ohio

Faces of Israel is a thoughtful and fair look at an issue that cuts to the core of Israel’s existence. It covers issues that we as a Jewish people need to focus on with all our creative energy. Luckily, Amy Beth Oppeneheimer does an outstanding job in framing the issue in a constructive way so we can all move forward together.”

-Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Rabbi of Ohev Shalom The National Synagogue

I cannot recommend Amy or the film (and both!) highly enough. I encourage you to consider bringing Faces of Israel to community – you’ll be very glad you did.”
-Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Rabbi at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, California

“Our synagogue hosted a terrific documentary film discussion . One of the best parts of the film screening was Amy’s presence in showing it. She has wonderful presence and is a great discussion leader. It was a big hit for our shul and allowed us to really tackle some important issues. I recommend highly .”

-Rabbi Uri Topolosky, Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in New Orleans

While hearing a variety of Israeli voices on the subject of Jewish identity and the Rabbinate is very helpful, what really makes “Faces of Israel” stand out is Amy Oppenheimer’s presence. Her enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter are evident, and she has an easy way of connecting with her audience. I was so glad that our Jewish Federation brought her to town, and I purchased a site license for my synagogue on the spot. I can’t wait to connect my teens with her via Skype what will be a special, memorable moment in their Jewish lives.”

-Rabbi Larry Bach, Rabbi at Temple Mount Sinai in El Paso, Texas

Faces of Israel thoughtfully presents people from across the religious spectrum speaking to the camera about issues central to Jewish identity. The unfortunate reality of Israel is that people with such divergent views do not often have the chance to speak directly with one another. One of the successes of the screening of Faces of Israel in our community was that it brought together Jews of different backgrounds . While they could not speak to the Israelis in the film, they did speak with each other. That is a good start!”

-Rabbi Barry Dov Katz, Rabbi of Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale

“Faces of Israel is a very unique film and program. While most films I’ve seen touching on such sensitive issues come in with a very clear and identifiable agenda, Faces presents the information in a clean and concise manner and lets the viewer decide . The interviews in the film range from thoughtful to funny to intense . The director is masterful at moderating the audience discussion with charm and ease, and disarms the audience with her cool and friendly demeanor in discussing such sensitive issues. In my view, Faces of Israel is a must see program for any syngagogue or community which is committed to Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state.”

-Rabbi Moshe Grussgott, Associate Rabbi of Congregation Ramath Orah in Manhattan, New York

Faces of Israel is a must-see documentary that honestly and with refreshing candor explores the crucial and as yet unresolved issues surrounding religion and state in Israel, particularly focusing on the right of Jews to marry. As a participant in the film’s debut and in the cross-denominational panel discussion that followed, I would particularly urge those concerned with bringing the greater Jewish community together to use Faces of Israel as a tool to both increase awareness and galvanize support for a just resolution to a problem that has become increasingly important in recent years.”

-Rabbi Steven Burton, Rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Shalom

I’ve had the privilege of watching Amy Oppenheimer present her film and facilitate discussion on two occasions.  Each time, she engaged her audience with vigor, enthusiasm and wisdom beyond her yearsI highly recommend that you invite Ms. Oppenheimer to your synagogue or Jewish Community Center to present this fascinating film which touches on the heart of soul of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st Century.

-Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky – Rabbi of Beth El Congregation in Phoenix, Arizona

“Amy is an extraordinary woman and I’m thrilled that she shared her insights, knowledge, and enthusiasm with USY and our congregants. Faces of Israel has opened the door to a lot of conversation, but more importantly, it served as a call to action. For years to come, Amy’s work will echo in the hearts and minds of all who see it .”

-Barbara S. Goldstein, Executive Director at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood, Ohio

“Our Faces of Israe l screening was an exciting and educational program that ignited the progressive and Zionist passions of a diverse group of people: Gay and straight, 40-year old and 70-year old. Amy is a talented discussion leader who engaged a large group from the first moment she spoke .”

-Rabbi Jill Maderer, Associate Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Shalom

JCCs

“You are outstanding ! Your program was not only interesting but interactive and so many who attended stopped me on their way out of the JCC to say that it was a wonderful evening! When you speak at other JCC’s they will equally be delighted with the presentation.”

-Debbie Rosen, Director of Adult Services at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, New York

“What a turnout! All segments of the Riverdale Jewish community, all ages, all excited to see this new film and discuss with a distinguished panel afterwards in the Riverdald Y’s café. Faces of Israel was a catalyst for Riverdale’s diverse community to explore issues of both religious and political importance . Bravo to Amy Oppenheimer and the rest of the film’s crew!”

Marti Michael , Executive Director of the Riverdale YM-YWHA

Faces of Israel is an honestly directed film, full of candid and eye-opening interviews . This film is excellent!”

-Rabbi Steven Golden, Judaic Director at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

Jewish Leaders and Educational Institutions

“Amy Beth Oppenheimer presented her program Faces Of Israel to the Monday Evening Forum. I have nothing but praise for both Amy and the film she produced. Amy’s lecture style integrated with the film was top rate. She engaged the audience and was well received. She is a superb educator and I recommend her highly .”

-Rabbi Edward S. Romm, Director of Education and Campus Programs, Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

“Ms. Oppenheimer has managed to capture on film the complexities and nuances of one of the most divisive issues in Israeli society. For those interested in Jewish in Israel, Faces of Israel adds texture and depth .”

-Rabbi Seth Farber, Founder of ITIM and expert on religion and state in Israel

Kol HaKavod for devoting your talent and time towards this critical issue in Israeli society!”

-Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center

“These issues are more relevant than ever, and Faces of Israel is a world-class production that is taking the Jewish world by storm . I could not more strongly recommend a film.”

-Ari Hoffnung, President of the Riverdale Jewish Community Council

“I left class early to attend the screening and I just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. The film was so informative, and really did cover almost all perspectives. It was done with grace, humor, and sensitivity , and the panel discussion that followed was amazing as well. It’s incredible that you put this all together – Congratulations on the tremendous success and very packed house!”

-Shira Berkovits, Synagogue Professional


Teens and High Schools

“Faces of Israel is a must-have program for Jewish Day schools, universities, Jewish summer camps and the Jewish community at large. Amy Beth Oppenheimer is a brilliant, charming and articulate documentary artist who engages the audience and brilliantly navigates through a challenging yet very important conversation for Jews concerned about the Jewish nature of Israel in the 21st Century.”

-Elana Bernstein Storch, Founder of the Jess Schwartz Jewish Community High School and the New Shul, Phoenix, Arizona

“Faces of Israel helped me to understand how being a Jew means something different to everyone. The presentation exemplified pluralism in the Jewish faith. Through Faces of Israel, Amy helped me to think about questions that I hadn’t considered before and to better identify my personal beliefs. I think that Faces of Israel would be an awesome program for USY chapters and regional conventions across the country .”

-Daniel (D.J.) Kaplan, International USY President 2011

Faces of Israel is a riveting 75 minutes, and it is powerful precisely because it does not offer a solution, rather calling on Jews of every stream and denomination to consider important questions about religion and state in Israel today. Amy Oppenheimer has created a vital educational tool for teens, for adults, for all of us .”

Rabbi Moshe Edelman, Director of Leadership Development for United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Universities

“Amy Beth Oppenheimer recently presented her documentary film Faces of Israel at Trinity College Hillel. It was one of the strongest programs about Israel that we have ever had at Trinity. Amy is a very talented educator who effectively explains the interplay of social, religious and political conditions that have brought us to the complicated question of “who is a Jew?” Amy has the remarkable ability to tackle these difficult and challenging issues , while navigating audience discussion among student and faculty participants of varying levels of knowledge and familiarity with the subject, as well as disparate opinions.

I highly recommend Faces of Israel, with Amy Beth Oppenheimer as presenter and discussion leader, to any group that is concerned with the relationship between democracy and religion for Israel’s Jewish citizens.”

-Lisa Kassow, Executive Director at Trinity College Hillel in Hartford, Connecticut

“Amy is an incredibly articulate, passionate, inspiring and sensitive young woman. I enjoy her every time I meet her, and those who attended were benefited immeasurably. Amy is very good at soliciting thought provoking interactions and at gently forcing people to think about and beyond their respective comfort zones. It was a pleasure.”

-Lisa B. Pollack, Executive Director at Hunter College Hillel in Manhattan, New York

“Amy Oppenheimer led a thoughtful and provocative conversation on issues of personal status in Israel. Using her film “Faces of Israel ” and her skillful lecture/discussion style of engagement, an informed and passionate student audience left with a better and more nuanced understanding of religious tensions within the Israeli Jewish community, especially around issues of marriage.”

-Rabbi Ira Schiffer, Associate Chaplain/Rabbi at Middlebury College

“Amy Oppenheimer’s Faces of Israel presentation and discussion was excellent. It was one of the best, most interactive programs I have experienced that deals with the internal political, cultural and religious issues inside Israel. The film itself was informative, balanced and REAL . Amy was an excellent presenter, knowing exactly when to listen and when to ask the right questions that would spark deeper conversation. Everyone in the room was engaged and many told me afterward that they could have kept talking longer because they found it so interesting. I highly recommend this program!”

-Nellie Goodman, Director of Jewish Student Leadership at University of Vermont Hillel

“The screening was a great success! Members of the Goucher community came out to watch the documentary and then we all engaged in an interesting discussion about the role of the Rabbinate in Israel. Everyone learned a lot, even our Dean of Students emailed me after the event to let me know how much she enjoyed learning about an aspect of Israeli culture which she previously did not know about. It was great having Amy there, she really enabled a lively discussion.”

-Shira Zemel , Goucher Hillel Co-President

Faces of Israel gives wonderful insight into the diversity of the Jewish responses to the role of the Israeli Rabbinate regarding marriage. This film exposed students on Goucher’s campus, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to the complexity and richness of Israeli society as it struggles with the Jewish identity of the state.”

-Rabbi Josh Snyder, Director of Goucher College Hillel

Faces of Israel was very informative about the role of religion in Israel. In addition, it allowed us to see the multiple perspectives within Israel about relationship between religion and state. We had a very lively discussionduring which the students compared the situation in Israel to that in the United States.”

-Brandon Hammer, Israel Coordinator, Columbia University Hillel

Jewish Federations

“When we invited Amy Beth Oppenheimer to our Rockland Jewish Community to bring Faces of Israel, we weren’t sure what to expect. I had heard endorsements from a number of people I really respected, but until you see Amy in action, you don’t know what a dynamo she is ! And the film follows along that same path. Amy has put together an educational, entertaining and dynamic presentation about Jewish family life issues in Israel that spans the breadth of denominations , while at the same time really gets to the heart of the matter. Amy engages the entire audience, young and young at heart, and the audience responds . A great program for Yom Ha’Atzmaut or any time during the year!

-Laurie Hoffman, Director of the Rockland Jewish Federation Education Center and the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in West Nyack, New York

“The response to Faces of Israel was very enthusiastic! Participants, both young and old, engaged Amy in wide-ranging dialogue on life and important issues in Israel in a refreshing and dynamic fashion.”

-Elliot B. Karp, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Las Vegas

More important than the film is Amy’s presentation. She does an incredible job of interacting with a group and getting people to consider Jewish identity and democracy in Israel (and not just the issue of marriage by the way) in a respectful, interesting, PLURALISTIC and non-judgmental manner.”

-Eileen Freed, Director of Israel/Overseas & Community Relations at Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor

“Amy is a natural born teacher with a gift for capturing an audience’s attention and holding onto it. Amongst our educators there is a buzz in the community on what the program means to them and how it may translate into their teaching of Israel.”

Jeffrey Lasday, Director of the Alliance for Jewish Education at Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

I was amazed at the depth of her knowledge and presentation skills.  If anyone is looking for a program that would work well with high school, college, young adults or seniors to address the issue of ‘Can Israel be a Jewish state and a democracy?’, I would strongly recommend Amy.”

-David Shtulman, Executive Director at Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor

“The Faces of Israel session at JFNA’s TribeFest in March 2011 was an important and sophisticated introduction to the realm of religious pluralism in Israel, an issue of increasing interest and relevance to the federation movement.”

-Naomi Orensten, The Jewish Federations of North America, Global Operations: Israel and Overseas