THE WOMEN’S BAL­CONY

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When the women’s bal­cony of a gen­der-seg­re­gated Jerusalem syn­a­gogue col­lapses dur­ing a bar mitz­vah, it pro­duces far-reach­ing con­se­quences. But the full force of the col­lapse falls on the con­gre­ga­tion. A charis­matic ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive young rabbi en­ters the vac­uum. He be­lieves the col­lapsed bal­cony is a sign from God, and in­sists on things be­ing done strictly by the book. The men are putty in Rabbi David’s hands, but the women re­sist. This deft, ac­com­plished first fea­ture from tele­vi­sion vet­eran Emil Ben-Shi­mon is about gen­der pol­i­tics, re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism, and the value of rea­son and com­mon sense in mod­ern life. It’s funny, touch­ing, and per­ti­nent, and it packs a punch. Not rated. 96 min­utes. In He­brew with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

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