Fire Within
Produced by Gary Jacobs and Lon Bender
Directed by Richard Berman
Distributed by Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016-7038; 212-685-6242
VHS, color, 84 min.
Reviewed by Karen Straube, George Fox University, Newberg, OR

Rating: Highly Recommended
Audience Level: Upper level elementary - Adult
Subject(s): Sociology, Jewish Studies, Gender Studies, International Relations, Middle Eastern Studies
Date Entered: 4/29/2005

This award-winning documentary film accompanies 30 teenagers as they tour Spain and Israel for two weeks. The group is sponsored by the Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute (JITLI) and is composed of ten American Jews from San Diego, ten Israeli Jews from Sha'ar HaNegev, and ten Israeli Bedouins from Segev Shalom. Over the course of two weeks the teens bond as they participate in sightseeing, special events, and discussions about religion, nationality, gender roles and identity. In the process they learn more about themselves and their own beliefs. The film ends with an interview of three of the teens a year later, as they relate the changes brought to their communities as a result of their participation in JITLI.
The technical quality of the film is very good. It is highly recommended for public, school and academic libraries, and would be very useful for opening discussions about the sometimes competing demands of religion, nationality, and identity. It also makes an eloquent case for the power that a few determined people can have in changing their community.

Official Selection AFI Film Festival
Winner Gold Remi Award Worldfest