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Filmmaker Magazine - Winter 2004
On the creation of the Trembling Before G-d DVD
Read the entire article

Coming Out For Support Read the entire article
- Debra Nussbaum Cohen, The Jewish Week

Take Back the Cinema - Don't Give Up Your Power! Read the entire article
- Sandi Simcha Dubowski, The Independent Film and Video Monthly

"Fran Greenberg's life could be a movie.  So it will take friends by surprise that the film coming to Columbus next week is about her son, the rabbi..." Read the entire interview
- Barbara Carmen, The Columbus, Ohio Dispatch

Filmmaker Magazine - Fall 2001- Bari Pearlman Interview with Sandi Dubowski Read the entire interview

Listen to Terry Gross interview Sandi Dubowski, film subject Michelle and Rabbi Steve Greenberg about TBG on Public Radio's "Fresh Air" [you must have Real Player installed to listen]. Play the file

"DuBowski latches on to a provocative subject and invests it with a compelling tenderness... The fine and powerful Trembling Before G-d has gained a whole new urgency and purpose since its screening at the Sundance Film Festival in January. ...an unforgettable picture." Read the entire article
- Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"3 and a half stars [out of 4]. A loving documentary that ably leavens its tears with the healing balm of humor: a consummately Jewish way to go. Stirring. Haunted. Eloquent. Devastating. A resonant, moving and often surprisingly funny swirl of testimonies." Read the entire article
- Jan Stuart, Newsday

Seeking a Place in the Faith
Congregation uses a documentary to begin a debate on role of gays in Orthodox Judaism.
- Susan Freudenheim, Los Angeles Times Read the entire article

"Trembling documents struggles of gay Jews": 3 out of 4 stars!
- Loren King, Boston Globe Read the entire article

Orthodox Jewish lesbian. It seems as oxymoronic as ``kosher pork chop.'' If the Orthodox strictly follow Jewish law, and Jewish law explicitly prohibits homosexuality, how can it be otherwise? Read the entire article
- Elinor J. Brecher, Miami Herald

“Smart, uncommonly objective documentary. Trembling is primarily interested in an inquiry that genuinely resonates since September 11th: How can extremely traditional cultures humanistically reconcile their ancient doctrines with the thorny questions of the modern world? DuBowski’s film isn’t so much angry muckraking as is wise investigation. An intelligent film. “
- Time Out New York

Each year the Forward picks 50 Jews who have been at the center of the year's events, demonstrating leadership, offering new ideas and representing a distinct Jewish presence in American life. Director Sandi Simcha Dubowski has been named this year along with Mel Brooks, Bob Dylan, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Rep. Nita Lowey, Ari Fleischer, and Ben Katchor. Read the entire article

Orthodox Eyes on ‘G-d’: Truth and Reconciliation
"On a recent Saturday night at a Hasidic home in Brooklyn, a mother of 10 children ushered her guests past a dining room lined with leather-bound volumes...to watch a documentary about people struggling to reconcile their Orthodox Jewish faith with their lives as gays and lesbians." Read the entire article
- Leslie Camhi, The Village Voice

"The 'Trembling' Phenomenon" Film on religious gays making a big impact. Read the entire article
- Debra Nussbaum Cohen, The Jewish Week

"...Trembling Before G-d, beginning with the title, is above all a work of reverence. DuBowski's sober, scrupulous documentary doesn't lash out at an oppressive religious structure so much as offer a hopeful prayer—out of love and devotion—that it be made better." Read the entire article
- Jessica Winter, The Village Voice

"The voice that responds to the ringing of a Lower East Side doorbell reflects the hysteria of a host running way behind schedule. It's so intense that the visitor briefly fears having rung the wrong buzzer, and violated the lair of a New York crazy. But it is merely an artist..." Read the entire article
- Joyce Wadler, Public Lives, The New York Times

Fear and "Trembling"; Sandi Dubowski Seeks the Irreconcilable Differences of Sex and Religion, 10/31/01
"Rarely, if ever, have I experienced a documentary that excited an audience to such a level of engagement -- and makes possible the reality of change. " Read the entire article
- Jim Fouratt, Indiewire

"The personal stories in Sandi Simcha DuBowski's film are as beautifully and softly braided as challah bread. It's a diverse bunch: the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi; a Brooklyn lesbian couple with disapproving parents; an HIV-infected man determined to follow both his faith and his desires; and a closeted, married woman, whom we see attending her first gay pride rally. Amazingly, DuBowski avoids taking cheap shots at religion, and focuses instead on his subject's stories. Most of these outcasts have no intention of giving up their beliefs, and that's what makes their dilemma so universal." 4 stars Read the entire article
- Justin Hartung, Citysearch.com

Film Probes the World of Gay Orthodox Jews Read the entire article
- CHRIS HERLINGER Religion News Service

Trembling Before G-d is "among the most powerful - and painful - movie to have reached Israel in some time..The movie pulls no punches, offers no pat solutions, and will, as a result, make certain people very uncomfortable. As well it should....And while the director doesn't skirt or simplify the fact that an enormoius amount of hypocrisy and even hatred toward gays exists in the religious community, he is not interested in pointing accusing fingers. Rather, like David [in the film], he is looking hard for existential answers. And as he looks, the relevance of his movie opens outward: in the end Trembling Before G-d isn't `just' about the plight of Orthodox gays. It's really about the challenges faced by so many of us - Jews and non-Jews, gays and straights -  as we struggle to fit together, piece by piece, a whole range of beliefs and allegiances. Trembling is a brave and important document."
- Adina Hoffman, The Jerusalem Post, 12/03/01

"Trembling" Opens Strong in NYC; Sets One-Day Record, 10/30/01
"Trembling Before G-d," Sandi Simcha Dubowski's documentary about Orthodox and Hasidic gays and lesbians topped Film Forum's opening day box office record previously held by Jennie Livingston's "Paris is Burning." The movie grossed more than $5,500 on Wednesday and went on to nab more than $31,000 in its first five days in release. The film's success puts it among the top weekend grossers in the history of the downtown landmark..." Read the entire article.
- Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks, Indiewire

"Film about gay Orthodox Jews makes waves as it makes rounds"
- JTA – The Global News Service of the Jewish People Read the entire article.

"Shaking the Stigma," October 22, 2001
"`I love what I do," says 31-year-old documentarian Sandi Simcha DuBowski. He'd better, because his debut film, Trembling Before G-D, about gay men in Orthodox communities, took seven years to complete..." Read the entire article
- Ben Kaplan, New York Magazine

'G-d' tackles a taboo subject
- Loren King, The Boston Globe Read the entire article.

"Unstoppable force meets immovable object in Sandi Simcha DuBowski's TREMBLING BEFORE G-D, about the terrible conflict experienced by gay Orthodox Jews - who are told they can be one (gay) or the other (Orthodox), but not both... Several protagonists are children of esteemed rabbis or cantors, making their identity crisis all the more acute. The close-knit, supportive nature of formative family/social environs - not to mention deeply instilled religious faith - is almost impossible to leave behind. Yet the Torah's specific instructions (procreative wedlock is a moral obligation, homosexual acts are abhorrent - even punishable by death, in literal interps) create a division that tears from within." Read the entire article.
- Dennis Harvey, Variety

"If industrywide caution came to mark this year’s festival, the efforts of DuBowski, along with Daniel West and Judith Helfand, the co-founders of Working Films, brought to Sundance a new kind of high-stakes positioning, one that dared to venture beyond the festival’s crucible of hype and commerce to connect with the community that surrounds it." Read the entire article.
- Paul Malcolm, LA Weekly,

Just when you thought the whole world was no longer dysfunctional, and that all parents are now accepting their children's little eccentricities without even the raise of an eyebrow, Sandi Dubowski arrives on the scene and insists a whole lot of people are still majorly fucked up. Read the entire article.
- Brandon Judell, Popcorn Q

Film uncovers hidden world
- Tom Brook, BBC News Read the entire arcticle.

For the love of G-d
- By Michael Giltz for the Advocate Read the entire article.

As always, the documentaries brought some of the most fascinating material....A film that stirred much emotion in the audience and immediate interest from buyers was Trembling Before G-d, a five-year investigation into the hidden lives of gay Orthodox Jews. Filmmaker Sandi DuBowski interviewed men and women from the ultra-Orthodox and modern Orthodox communities in the United States and Israel, describing their struggle to reconcile a love for Judaism with a sexual identity banned by the religion. Several were married and in deep depression; many had spent years tring unsuccessfully to become heterosexual (one followed a rabbis advice to `eat figs and say psalms, and snap a rubber band on his wrist every time he thought of sex with a man). DuBowski said there is a new movement to unite increasingly bold Orthodox gays.
-- Washington Post, January 30, 2001

Trembling Before G-d. A powerful, troubling film about the nightmarish situation gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews face when, refusing to abandon either their sexuality or religion, they try to reconcile their essential natures with a community that holds them in contempt. Wrenching stories of struggle and denial were collected over a five-year period by director Sandi Simcha DuBowski... In such an atmosphere [Sundance], publicists must work overtime to come up with unique events. Neck and neck for the most inventive so far are Trembling Before G-ds sponsorship of a havdalah service, the traditional end of the Sabbath, officiated by Steve Greenberg, billed as the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, and Tromadances sponsorship of whats billed as the worlds first film festival to provide an on-site body piercing booth.
-- Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2001, Kenneth Turan

Among the excellent documentaries shown were Stanley Nelsons `Ralph Bunche, and the intense `Trembling before G-d, the director Sandi Simcha DuBowskis film on Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their faith with Orthodoxys less than tolerant traditions. Passion was the order of the day all around.
-- New York Times, January 29, 2001, Elvis Mitchell

I saw `The Believer the day after seeing a documentary called `Trembling Before G-d, a fascinating examination of gay Orthodox Jews. Who knew? These men and women find themselves in the grips of an impossible dilemma - unwilling to give up their sexual identities but at the same time unwilling to give up their faith, even though it disdains and rejects them. Its amazing that the filmmaker, Sandi Simcha DuBowski, got access to this hidden world - one he explores with lyricism and insight.
-- Newsweek.com, David Ansen

The film interviews many in this situation...and paints an honest, warm, layered picture of their highly conflicted lives. DuBowski and two of the films subjects answered questions about the movie for 45 minutes, the longest post-screening Q & A Ive witnessed so far.
-- Newsweek.com, B.J. Sigesmund

Always rich in documentaries, Sundance this year has produced early favorites...there is `Trembling Before G-d, a documentary about gay Hasidic and Orthodox Jews declaring their sexuality while trying to preserve their place in the religious community.
-- New York Daily News, January 25, 2001, Jami Bernard

Local [Bay Area] film festival programmers have been glued to their seats watching everything for candidates to screen back home. The Jewish Film Festivals Janis Plotkin is dying to show Trembling Before G-d, a documentary about Orthodox Jews who come out of the closet. But shes competing with a team from the San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, with whom she happens to be sharing a condo in Park City. When I came back from a screening of `Trembling, I told them, `Its very Jewish, Plotkin said, laughing.
-- San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2001, Ruthe Stein

Our favorite stuff (as always) was in the Documentary section, where we were blown away by three groundbreaking projects: Sandi Simcha Dubowski's Trembling Before G-d, a devastating and nuanced portrayal of the issues facing gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews as they grapple with these seemingly incompatible identities; and the aforementioned Scout's Honor and Southern Comfort.
-- Planet Out

The big news event during the festival was a Havdalah service held the festivals first weekend, marking the end of the Sabbath for Jews and presided over by a rabbi in honor of another Jewish film that is generating attention and controversy....Trembling Before G-d (Orthodox Jews consider the Hebrew word for `God to be too sacred to spell out completely), is a jarring documentary by 30-year-old first-time director Sandi Simcha DuBowski about Orthodox Jews who come out as gay and lesbians, as well as those still living in fear and secrecy. `Trembling was shot over a period of five years in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, San Francisco, and Jerusalem....
-- Belief.net

"American documentaries, always a bright spot at the festival, continued to shine this year....Sandi Simcha DuBowski presented Trembling Before G-d, an incisive study of homosexuality in Orthodox Jewish communities the world over."
-- Time Out New York, February 1-8, 2001, Nicole Keeter

"Trembling Before G-d, a passionately open-eyed documentary about the wrenching conundrum of being gay and an Orthodox Jew at the same time" with photo of Mark surrounded by yeshiva boys
-- Entertainment Weekly, February 9, 2001, Owen Gleiberman

"By the end of Southern Comfort the strange has become not only familiar but very dear, and abstract questions of gender identity all but disappear into the lives - at once particular and universal - of a self-sustaining community whose end-of-story you're dying to know.

Much the same can be said of Sandi Simcha DuBowski's haunting Trembling Before G-d, which makes the case for gay Orthodox Jews marooned between their faith and the equally powerful need to be true to their sexual selves. Luckily for DuBowski they're a preternaturally chatty and witty bunch, whose isolation from their roots (it would take an open-minded rabbi indeed to embrace someone claiming membership in a group called the Orthodykes) is evoked by the director's astute visual composition. Surprisingly, the establishment they're up against includes some pockets of, if not acceptance, then certainly sympathy: One straight Orthodox youth, clearly at a loss after a tirade from a gay lapsed Jew who has lost contact with his censorious family, breaks his baffled silence to offer his fallen brother a slice of cake. In the end, given the uncompromising proscription of homosexuality in the Jewish texts, one has to agree with the voluble black sheep who, in sorrow and anger, concludes it may not be possible to be gay and Orthodox, and with the compassionate Israeli therapist who tells his gay religious clients that they will struggle with an intractable contradiction for the rest of their lives.

A different order of Jewish dilemma, though Lord knows no less colorful, propels the most interesting film I saw in dramatic competition - "The Believer"
--- The LA Weekly, Ella Taylor

Far from [Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy], but reliant on sexual issues is the reportedly very fine Trembling Before G-d, which director Sandi Simcha DuBowski says is his baby. A chronicle of gay and lesbian Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who come out in their often unsympathetic communities, the film had both gay and straight Sundance viewers, many of whom are Jewish, wishing they were more connected to their faith. Though I have not yet had a chance to see Trembling, I fully intend to catch up with Sandi back in the Brooklyn hood in a few weeks and, hopefully hear that he has sold that child for a ransom. When asked at last nights Hedwig and the Angry Inch New Line event if he was moving forward with another project, he said, The Talmud says you should never get pregnant while nursing, - this, at 3 in the morning when everyone else in his sphere was pumped full of recreational drugs, falling down the stairs or vomiting violently in random trash cans. This guy is the real deal: it is unlikelythat well see him stumbling around Hollywood anytime soon with six simultaneous, unmanageable projects on his plate like so many other newly discovered, sometimes untalented director/producers.
-- TNT Roughcut.com, January 29, 2001, Alli Joseph

Sandi Simcha DuBowski looked radiant at Sundance as his long-awaited Trembling before G-d a feature-length documentary about those who are gay and Orthodox Jewish is getting good buzz. His film was feted the previous night with kosher hors d'oeuvres and a Havdalah ceremony led by Rabbi Steve Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox to hold that position. Evidently, throughout the entire religious right the cell phones were a ringing.
--- Bay Area Reporter, January 25, 2001

"Trembling is a tribute to the human spirit, if not to the institutions that seek to define it."
- Boston Phoenix

"3 out of 4 stars... Addresses big, thorny and relevant issues."
-Boston Herald

ADDITIONAL
PRESS

IFCtv.com report from Sundance and exclusive video interviews with the director.

Andrew Bender reviews Trembling on Generation J

The Coop News: A Brave New Film Challenges Tradition

A review at FilmFestivals.com


The Jewish Week: A New Day for Orthodox Gays

Planet Out: Queer Television
Oy Gay! Sandi Dubowski's Trembling Before G-d looks at gay Orthodox Jews (9:12 mins.)
Watch in RealVideo
Watch in Quicktime (13.8mb)


© 2006 Simcha Leib Productions