Notes from Producer/Director, Rhonda Moskowitz

Rosol, the extraordinary woman who is Philip’s mother and Martin Grossman’s aunt

We walked into a tragedy when we first filmed our families. Myra, the aunt of Philip, our main character, and the sister of Rosol, Phil’s mother, had unexpectedly passed away two days before any of us had met. There was a 20 year age difference between Myra and Rosol, but the two sisters were very close.  Myra’s son, Martin, is on Death Row. Myra, who was in her early 70s, came to live with Rosol and her husband Paul, two months before she died. Paul had converted his and Rosol’s garage into a large bedroom just for Myra and two months later she was gone.

Rosol opened up her life and her big heart to us, which still to this day, deeply touches me.  We were complete strangers who had flown in to film her and her family and Myra’s death was a big loss. The situation was also complicated by the fact that Rosol’s son, Phil, had stolen from his Aunt Myra to support his Oxycontin habit and in a couple of days, Phil was being released from jail.  Rosol has experienced more tragedy and heartbreak than one person can possibly endure. She has an expansive heart, great spirit,  a wonderful sense of humor and I love her.

Tags: , ,

14 Responses to “Rosol”

  1. Caroline Gassner Says:

    Reading the description of the documentary has completely captivated me. It’s such a fascinating topic and I look forward to viewing it!

  2. Rae Says:

    My name is Rae, short for Rachel and I am Rosol’s daughter, Philip’s sister, Myra’s niece and Elijah and Neveah’s godmother and Aunt. I would like to thank Rhonda not only for her interest in our family, but also for her compassion and respect for my family and our story. Both her and Sean are part of our family and we all love them dearly. I must admit in the scheme of this whole project i am probably the biggest “hardass” there is. I not only wondered why make this movie at all, but why glamorize the mistakes made by those who obviously were only thinking of themselves. I am slowly beginning to understand. I do realize that EVERYONE has a story in their own right. My family has gone through more turmoil than most but i want you to realize this is not a family of misfits. G-d does not give u anymore that what you can handle and i believe my family handles much more than average. Our family has also been full of extremly strong women. My bubbie (grandmother) was absolutely the single most strongest woman I ever knew. She held our family together while letting my grandfather believe he did. She raised two daughters, 20 years apart, instilled in us all a very overpowering bond in our religion and connection to our family. Yom Kippur is also a very hard time for me. It is my favorite holiday and hardest in one. I am not a perfect jew. I can forgive for the most part but I have a very hard time forgetting. My mother has had a hell of a time holding our family together over the years and she has done a remarkable job. Unfortuneately our “family name” is the real victim here. From Martin, From Phil, and the people who really suffer are the innocent, the children. I hope that when you see this film and hear this story that you don’t spend your time feeling sorry for my brother, feelig sorry for my cousin but for the ones caught in the “wake”. My aunt, nephew and niece as well as my mother whose only mistake was unconditional love. My family is not unlike everyone else’s, we just have more to carry.
    Thanks, Rhonda


    • Patty friend for 33 yra Says:

      Please forward my email to the family I understand this is a trying time and so much is going on….I really would like to speak with them regarding everything going on

  3. Rhonda Moskowitz Says:

    I’m deeply moved by your response Rae. I think about you, Dana, Kelly, Elijah, Nevaeh, your mom, dad, Martin and both of your brothers every single day, as well as Dana’s family. I’m trying to process everything and everyone during the course of making this film and it’s an honor and privilege to film you. One of these days I’m going to blog about the relationships between the filmmakers and film subjects, because I love all of you. I’m eternally grateful for allowing me and Sean into your lives and I’m learning so much.

    The damage Martin and Phil have done to your family is monumental and you have stepped in to pick up the pieces. It was extremely painful to film Elijah with Phil when Sean and I were there in October, as it was extremely painful to film Phil. (I don’t want to write more, as I don’t want to give away what will be in the film.) Elijah and Nevaeh are beautiful, innocent childrent whose lives have been shattered. There aren’t a lot of saints in this world, and again, I won’t say much more about this, but you and Kelly are two of them. (I don’t mean to embarrass you, but not many people would do what you do.) I hope you realize I don’t view your family as a bunch of misfits. Just the opposite. You’ve gone through and are going through monumental struggles and have enormous hearts and amazing spirits, amazing grace, and yes, the women are incredibly strong!

    I hope the film will not glamorize or glorify what Martin and Phil (and Dana) have done, but I do hope it will show them as complicated human beings and maybe we’ll all have a better understanding of them as well as of ourselves and each other. I don’t know if your mom gave you the Borovitz book to read. He’s the Rabbi who, before he went to rabbinical school, did terrible things and landed in prison a couple of times. He’s now head of Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles and does a lot of good in the world. (Click on the link on this blog under “Blog Roll.) Borovitz was a thief who stole from many people, including his own mother by forging her name on her checks, and now he’s a Rabbi and a Tzadik (Righteous Person) who does Teshuva every day.

    I thank you, Dana and your family from the bottom of my heart for being in the film. I love you.

  4. Miracle Of Lights « Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] Rosol, the matriarch,  is hosting her annual Hanukkah party with beautiful, hand crafted 50 year old decorations, and an expansive and breathtaking  floor to ceiling wall of gifts, that has to be seen to be believed. Rosol’s sister Myra, who lived here in Rosol’s household, passed away last April. This will be the first Hanukkah celebration without her. […]

  5. max Says:

    thank you for saying theses things if it was’nt for you i would still be lost now since you came i was pointed in the right direction

    • teshuvafilm Says:

      Wow, Max! This is amazing and deeply touches me, and taps into my curiosity. Your further thoughts about this would be great for the film. I’m going to e-mail you privately. I love you and miss you!!

  6. Powerful Hanukkah Letter From a Jew on Death Row « Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] 2008. She visited her son, who was her only child, consistently over the decades with her sister, Rosol. Rosol has continued to visit Martin since her sister died. This letter by Martin is written to his […]

  7. Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] wrote the following powerful and poignant lette to his Aunt Rosol, Hanukkah, 2008. “Dear Tantellaski,                        Chanukkah […]

  8. Patty friend for 33 yra Says:

    My family first met the Grossman family 30 plus years ago when we moved to New Port Richey in Veterans Village. Martin taught me how to fish and watched over us. We became very close friends with the Grossman family. I am trying to reach Rosal and the family of Martin. This has got to be very hard. I just recently lossed my mom back in June of 09. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved…

  9. Aftermath of the Execution of a Jew « Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] 6 by 9 death row cell.  “I am an island of Judaism,” he wrote in a letter to his aunt, Rosol, during Hanukkah in 2008, 14 months before he […]

  10. Family Member of Jewish Prisoners Speaks Out « Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] name is Rae, short for Rachel and I am Rosol’s daughter, Philip’s sister, Myra’s niece and Elijah and Neveah’s godmother and Aunt. I would […]

  11. Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] wrote the following powerful and poignant lette to his Aunt Rosol , Hanukkah, […]

  12. george Says:

    he was a scumbag. regaurdless of the so called religion he found, rest assure he is in pain and mysery in hell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: