A Film by: Yankul Goldwasser & Roni Ninio
(Israel, 2000, 65 Minutes, Color, Hebrew, English subtitles, Cast: Orly Zilberschatz Banai, Yoram Chatav, Menahem Zilberman, Tzahi Grad, Ofer Seker)
The TV drama Reaching For Heaven deals with an exposed nerve in Israeli society that shakes many families. It tells the story of a central Tel Aviv family shaken to its foundations when Roni, the head of the family, adopts orthodox Judaism.
The drama does not examine the process of hazara bitshuva but presents its symptoms and describes how it affects the members of the family.
This is an honest and authentic description of a family facing a great crisis. The secular-religious conflict, on the one hand, and the attempt to preserve the unity of the family and the marriage on the other, constitutes the central conflict between husband and wife and between father and children.
The framing story of the series is Nurit’s meeting with a divorce lawyer to whom she turns for counsel following Roni’s adoption of orthodoxy. Gradually, she exposes all that has happened to her from the moment she became aware of Roni’s religious awakening, which began secretly and becomes increasingly overt in the following episodes. The warm and loving family attempts, at least in the beginning, to preserve its wholeness, though none of its members is willing to join Roni on his new path. Roni and Nurit face difficult questions. The inner voice telling one to “live according to his belief” places the continued existence of the family and the marriage in doubt.
"Reaching for Heaven is an outstanding Israeli TV series. We’ve waited a long time for something like that. It is dramatic, but restrained and accurate. Well written, but not avant-garde. It is of eminence, but not elitist or pretentious. It entertains, but is not trivial…" - Haaretz Newspaper, Israel
AWARDS, FESTIVALS & SCREENINGS
• The Best TV Drama, Jerusalem Int'l Film Festival, 2000
• The Best TV Series, Israeli Academy for Cinema & TV, 2000
• The Best Actress for Orly Zilberschatz Banai - the Israeli Academy for Cinema & TV, 2005