The Arty Semite

Can a Polish Priest Be a Jew? Not According to the Law of Return

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Courtesy of Go2Films

One is tempted to declare that “Torn,” the documentary by Israeli filmmaker Ronit Kertsner making its American debut at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, is about the “Who is a Jew?” question. It is. But it is also about more than that.

The film tells the story of Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel, a Polish Catholic priest and philosophy professor in his late-60s who decides he wants to immigrate to Israel. In what is likely the last case of a European priest learning that he was born to Jewish parents killed in the Holocaust, Weksler-Waszkinel decides to embrace his Jewish identity and make aliyah based on the Law of Return.

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