Archive for April, 2009

PASSOVER IN PRISONS

April 7, 2009

From Producer/Director, Rhonda Moskowitz

Some of the people in my doc film-in-progress,Teshuva (Return), are observing Passover, alone in their respective prisons.

However, I’ve had unprecedented access to direct film shoots of  two separate Passover Seders inside two different maximum security state prisons. Scroll down to watch them.

If you find these compelling, please help support Teshuva (Return), which is a break-through feature length documentary. We have been filming Jews in prisons and their family members, but there is still more to film. 

This powerful project is non-profit and has been funded mostly by private donors such as yourself. Both large and small donations are needed.  You can make a secure, tax-deductible on-line donation.


Also, feel free to forward this blog to friends, family and listservs.

Passover in Tomoka C.I., Daytona Beach, FL  (Length is 3:08, NOT 8:13)


(Length:  3:08)  Charles Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for burglary and assault, without parole, leads a Passover Seder inside Tomoka Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison.  The prison is predominantly Christian, and there is no Rabbi on staff. We filmed this in 2006.

Passover in Sing Sing C.F., Ossining, NY (Length:  4:18)

Sing Sing has more Jews than Tomoka, and there is a Rabbi on staff. We filmed a mock Passover Seder (meaning a Seder held the week before Passover) in 2002, led by the prison Rabbi.

 
Contact: rhonda(at)shininglightproductions(dot)(com)

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BLOG #1 BY PHILIP, A JEW IN JAIL

April 3, 2009

From Producer/Director, Rhonda Moskowitz:

I’ve been out of commission for a long time, due to a broken right arm and subsequent surgery.  Shortly before I broke my arm, I received a letter from one of  Teshuva (Return)’s   main characters, 23 year old Philip, (Hebrew name, Fivel), whom I’ve grown to love. (Not in a romantic sense.  I’m middle-age and married.)  We had been corresponding.  I printed out my blogs, sent them to him in the county jail, and wrote that he should feel free to write blogs and I’ll post them. 

The following is Philip’s first blog, dated January 17th, which I’m delighted to finally post:

“Teshuva –  Philip Melton/Fivel Ben Abraham (Philip Son of Abaham)

Fivel’s First Blog – 

Shalom, faithful subscribers and first time visitors.  This is your main man, Phil.  Regretfully, I am writing this blog from the depths of incarceration, a state at which due to drug addiction, has been somewhat familiar for some time now.

Without saying too much about the movie, situations like this can come up abruptly, so always be on the path of righteousness, never foresaking Adonai (God) and your loved ones.

My support system is and was always there for me, at any cost, starting with my mother, Rosol. This woman defines true altruism, and displays unlimited unselfishness.  Exhibited by putting her sons, family, and most of all Hashem (God) above herself. I love her very much, although the tie that binds loyalty is unflinching, (Rosol), the rest of my support system has taken a severe blow in the 2008 year. 

First my Aunt Myra, (whom I was extremely close with) died days before my release from custody (May 3, 2008). Then, as my sobriety slipped, my life long friend and spiritual leader, died in the midst of helping me refinding the path.

These are terrible things for an addict to go through, and my complex allowed me to use these tragic events not to be stronger, but slip down to the clutches of something I’ve never experienced.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy this wonderful narrative about struggle, time lost and, hopefully, redemption, (teshuva), with a wonderful director, (Rhonda). It’s sure not to disappoint.

Rhonda, I love you very much, as well as Rosol, Elijah my son, Dana and the rest of my family. When times are tough, remember, the Children of Israel are never alone.

God –  Bless.

Philip Melton”