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Convinced he’s dead, a young man asks a rabbi to recite mourner’s prayer for him

15 6 7
04.05.2021

The film “The Forbidden Wish” begins with a young man entering an American synagogue the day before Yom Kippur. He encounters the rabbi, who is rehearsing his Kol Nidre sermon for the eve of the Day of Atonement. The young man asks the rabbi to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish mourner’s prayer.

The rabbi assumes it is for the young man’s father, whom he claims he has just buried in Israel.

“No, for me,” the young man says.

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“You cannot request this for yourself,” the rabbi tells him.

But the young man persists, insisting he can prove to the rabbi that he is not really alive. Michael Carnick, 2019 (Scott Tipton)

What follows is an emotionally and philosophically intense two-character drama by American-Jewish writer-director Michael Carnick, which can be viewed on digital and demand on various platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.

In the film’s hour and a half running time, the young man, Isaac, and the rabbi, an Ethiopian-Israeli named Nate, engage in a conversation that lays bare their pasts, prejudices, and the sources of their personal pain.

In doing so, “The Forbidden Wish” deals with a panoply of topics: The immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel; racism; homophobia; and mental illness. The film also tackles matters of faith, choosing life in the face of loss, and the tension between following the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. Finally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thrown in for good measure.

It’s a lot to follow, but Carnick told The Times of Israel in a recent Zoom interview from his home in San Diego, California, that he deliberately included so much in the screenplay. Michael Carnick (right) gives direction to actors John Berchtold (left) and Sammi Rotibi in rehearsal for ‘The Forbidden Wish’ (Underdog........

© The Times of Israel


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