Regina (Hungary/Germany/UK, 2013)

directed by Diana Groˇ, documentary, 66 min, eng subtitles
written by Diana Groˇ

The Story of the World's First Female Rabbi

Inspired by the book Regina Jonas: Die weltweit erste Rabbinerin by Elisa Klapheck

Diana Groˇ's documentary tells the story of Regina Jonas (1902-1944), a strong woman who made history by becoming the first properly ordained woman rabbi in the world. Through graceful and poetic use of archival footage, Diana Groˇ brings us a story of a person whose image is known through one photograph alone. Scenes from Jewish life in Berlin during the early twentieth century come to life: synagogues, Jewish schools, parks, streets, and newsreels permeate the film, while a gentle voiceover tells us this unique story. The director recalls the first steps of her creative documentary this way: "The story of Regina Jonas found me... She felt that she was born to be a rabbi and had known it from the time she was a little girl. But a woman wasn't able to be a rabbi according to the laws of Jewish religion. I was deeply impressed by her short life story full of so much struggle and decided that the time had come to make a documentary film about her. But how could I tell her story with only a few letters and one surviving photo? That was the challenge..."

Jerusalem IFF 2013 (Lia Award in Honor of Jerusalem Cinematheque founder Lia van Leer)