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Eyes Wide Open

Directed by: Paula Weinman-Kelman
60 Minutes, 2008

Six decades after the founding of the Jewish State, when cherished historical memories collide with complex realities, how do you build your own individual relationship to Israel? In order to explore this timely question, Paula Weiman-Kelman spent more than a year following a wide range of American Jews, first-timers and frequent visitors, on their journeys to Israel. The result is Eyes Wide Open – a warm and personal film that vividly conveys the joys and ambivalences that inevitably characterize the deep emotional connection between American Jews and the Jewish homeland. Eyes Wide Open succeeds in lifting the spirit while raising important questions. Shot in Israel and the U.S., in synagogues and airports, at ancient landmarks and modern war zones, the film captures the spontaneous reactions of its ensemble of characters. The visitors represent a spectrum of American Jewry: Orthodox, traditional, and secular, male and female, young and old, liberal and conservative. What emerges is an honest and moving collective portrait, graced with visual beauty and spiced with humor. Eyes Wide Open challenges the viewer to reflect upon one’s own relationship to Israel, and to begin a fresh conversation.