The opportunity to peek into a sectarian community is extremely rare. That alone makes “93Queen” worth watching. The documentary, which screened as part of the Vinnik Night of Jewish Culture at the Denver Jewish Film Festival, takes place in Brooklyn’s chasidic community of Borough Park. This is a community that spurns outside attention. The only way to know it is to inhabit it — live among its residents, read its media.
To my knowledge, “93Queen” is the only documentary about this chasidic world of Brooklyn told by its own residents. (“Menashe,” which also took place in Brooklyn, featured chasidic actors and was based on a true story, but was not a documentary.) What makes “93Queen” all the more remarkable is that it’s about chasidic women — like a smaller doll within a Matryoshka, chasidic women are even less known to the general public.
The film tells the story of a group of women fighting to establish a women’s emergency medical team so that women in the community can be ministered to — especially in childbirth — by women. The group, Ezras Noshim, runs up against the powerhouse of a Hatzalah, an extremely successful and efficient emergency volunteer corps that bans women from its ranks.
You don’t have to be chasidic, female or even Jewish to enjoy this film. You just have to be someone who both enjoys exploring other cultures and appreciates witnessing disempowered people fight for advancement and recognition.
So often we hear this community spoken about, rather than speaking. I relished the experience of hearing an authentic story told by its members, and I was left with great admiration for the courage exhibited by these brave women.
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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