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  • Shmuel Hoffman

Für Savta

Updated: Feb 9

(This is a personal film that is being distributed via NASCK's channel - National Association of Chevra Kadisha.)

I'm probably one of a few people in the world who films home videos on an Arri Alexa Mini, a Hollywood cinema camera. Specifically, I'm actually documenting the lives of each of my 5 children from birth till I pass, to chronicle their lives and personal changes along the way.

Of course, while escorting my children with my Alexa, many threads of stories unfold.

 

One of them is when their Savta (grandma), my wife's mother, became terminally ill over a year ago. While filming that episode, it turns out that I intuitively zoomed not just in on Savta, but also on my little daughter Miri who had a very close relationship with her. And so it happened that we created a film about Savta's passing, but from the point of view of little Miri.



After we finished this film and shared it privately, we were approached by an organization, the National Association of Chevra Kadisha (NASCK - Jewish Burial Society).

 

You might have heard that cremation is not a very Jewish thing; we like to bury our loved ones whole, the way they came down to earth. Now, the issue is that a lot of people don't know what they should choose, or they are on the edge of deciding between cremation and burial. NASCK's Last Kindness project has the mission to help people choose burial instead of cremation.


When NASCK came to us, they had the challenge to convey the message of how crucial a burial is for the body and the soul, and for the family around the deceased. They saw that this personal film we made says all someone needs to know about the catharsis of a Jewish burial. I saw in front of me the beauty and rawness of a close knit family and how a burial is part of the process prescribed by Judaism that includes tahara (ritual cleansing of the body), the burial, shiva, kaddish, the unveiling of the headstone, and the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) which is this week.

 

So, this film is very close to my heart and I wanted to share it with you.  

It is the story of our beloved Savta, and our family going through her tragic diagnosis all the way to her burial. 

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