Out of Faith
Intermarriage between individuals of different faiths is at the root of a family crisis in the Welbel family from Skokie, Illinois. Grandson Danny and his grandmother Leah have not spoken for six years as this poignant documentary begins. The issue that divides them is Danny's marriage to a non-Jew. Grandmother Leah is a Holocaust survivor who says: "If I allow this to happen, I feel like I betray my family...As a survivor, I paid the highest price for my Jewish faith. I paid it with blood and that reminds me, stick to your faith."
When a granddaughter follows Danny and also marries outside the Jewish faith, Leah deals with the problem very differently. She makes a great effort to stay in touch with her granddaughter and to remain a part of her life in the hope that her granddaughter's husband will convert.
Leah's two sons and their wives are caught in the middle between grandparents and grandchildren. Director Lisa Leeman follows the Welbel family through several years as each family member struggles with the issue of marriage to a different faith in very different ways. Leeman's camera also accompanies Leah on a return visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau.
This even-handed film engenders empathy for all family members, those who view intermarriage as a betrayal of family and faith and those who take a pluralistic approach to marriage, wrestling with the import of their decisions for their spouses and future children.
The intrafamily crisis captured by filmmaker Leeman provides a lens to larger issues of immigration and assimilation and does so deftly, sensitively and intelligently.