Storyville: In the Name of the Father airs Tuesday 16 May 2023 on BBC Four
The Breslov Hasidic community of Yavnel, Israel is the setting for an extraordinary film.
It was founded in the 1980s by Rabbi Schick, also known as Mohorosh, a charismatic leader who resided in Brooklyn, New York. A divisive figure, Mohorosh welcomed ‘repentant’ Jews to Yavniel who were looking for a new community. They may be Jews who have abandoned their faith, committed crimes, or who simply seek Mohorosh’s guidance as they adopt a Breslov Hasidic lifestyle.
Funded by selling holy books and fundraising, and spiritually led by Mohorosh, who largely remained in Brooklyn, the community had a school, a kindergarten, a synagogue, a huge kitchen where they could eat together, and houses built by the community themselves. However, after Mohorosh passed away, it was discovered that he had left not one but two wills: one benefiting a group of self-selected community leaders and the other leaving leadership and a vast fortune to Mohorosh’s son Moishi.
Stories of a hidden criminal organisation that was extorting millions of dollars in addition to violence, sexual abuse, and underage marriages emerge as a massive fight over his inheritance rages and the community is left without their spiritual leader.
After years of building trust with the group, Moishi and a number of other survivors decided to speak out, leave the community, and share their incredible story with director Bat-dor Ojalvo. She also had the rare opportunity to speak with members of the community who adhere to Mohorosh’s teachings.
The film features stunning archival and home movie footage shot in Yavniel as well as Brooklyn.
Season 2023 Episode 10
Series showcasing the best of international documentary filmmakers works.
What time is Storyville: In the Name of the Father on tonight
Storyville: In the Name of the Father airs Tuesday 16 May 2023 at 22:00 on BBC Four
Featured image credit: BBC Four
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