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February 07, 2013 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

David Julian Hirsh

and Toni Braxton in

Lifetime's Twist of Faith

Directed David J. Ifiagids


Artist Carol Lempert

'Keith Balinowsiti,
and Brian
reriMartz and Pete Podolaki



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probably the last time I sang in public
[before this film]. I was really happy the
way my singing turned out in the film.
I was singing with one of the greatest
R&B singers of all time.
"My [maternal] grandparents were
Holocaust survivors, and hearing their
stories was a huge part of my upbring-
ing. They lost all of their family in the
war. They survived by escaping [from
Poland] and fleeing to a labor camp in
Russia, then to a DP camp in Austria
and then to South Africa. They man-
aged to get into Canada after the war.
"[My parents] wanted me to go to
a Jewish school when I was young,
which was great. We went to Orthodox
synagogues. It was a nice, solid Jewish
upbringing, which I love. I was a bar
mitzvah. In preparing for the film, I
drew on everything, including what
my grandfather went through, losing
his parents and his family, and, with
his new family, bringing them to a safe
Horrible loss and its aftermath are a
big part of Twist of Faith. Jacob, the can-
tor played by Hirsh, is eking out a living
in Brooklyn as a chazzan for a small
Orthodox shul. He supplements his
income by working as a carpenter. His
jewels are his beautiful wife and three
young children. All four are slain before
his eyes in an incident that recalls the
recent Newtown, Conn., school shoot-
Feeling totally bereft, he boards a
southbound bus. After months of wan-
dering and sleeping where he can, he
chances to end up in small Alabama
town, where he falls asleep on the lawn
of a black church. The church is next

door to the home of Nina (Braxton).
Nina's uncle and young son, citing the
need to be "good Christians:' allow him
to stay the night in the church.
Even though Jacob doesn't talk for
a long time, the uncle senses Jacob is
a good man, and with Nina's eventual
approval, he's allowed to stay on at the
church as long as he wants. He makes
himself useful as the church's carpenter.
The film retains credibility because
Jacob and Nina have something real to
bond about beyond being nice, good-
looking, lonely people. That bond is
music. Nina's choir is trying to win a
statewide contest for the best gospel
choir, and they know they need a dyna-
mite song. It is believable that Jacob
would try to comfort himself by com-
posing a tune on the church piano and
that Nina would encourage him to write
a tune for her choir.
Nina, who had a painful divorce,
and Jacob help each other heal. But
before they act on their attraction, Jacob
returns to Brooklyn and tries to resume
his old life. His aged mother's advice to
Nina, Hirsh readily agrees, is not some-
thing one would expect from a tradi-
tional Jewish mother and, on some level,
it ties things up too neatly.
But, Hirsh says, perhaps that are
people in the world whose "love is so
deep" they put aside traditional values
in extraordinary circumstances and tell
their children to do what makes them


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February 7 • 2013


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