Halakeh (Upsherin)

This is the story of a journey made by a young religious couple: Yael (Hani Furstenberg), Yoni (Ohad Knoller) and their three-year-old son Yiftach (Hinave Hilel Pney El).Yoni, once a barely observant Jew, is now devoted to the passionately Hassidic Breslov tradition. His wife Yael has remained a follower of the more moderate, mainstream Bnei Akiva branch of Judaism. The change in Yoni causes Yael to distance herself from him and from religion as a whole. The tension between Yoni and Yael manifests in a battle for the soul of their son.Yiftach’s birthday falls on the holiday of Lag Ba’omer. Yoni yearns to make his son part of the community of Jewish men by means of a masculine rite of passage – the halakeh. Traditionally held at Lag Ba’omer at Rabbi Shimon’s tomb on Mount Meron , halakeh involves cutting a boy’s hair for the first time, leaving only his sidelocks.Yael fears Yoni’s religious fanaticism and strives to keep Yiftach under her wing.The long journey to Meron brings their conflict into sharp relief. Their encounters with various characters along the way further highlight the chasm which has developed between them.Ultimately it is their child who bears the heavy cost of marriage and of faith.

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