Tidewater premier of Beneath the Helmet brings pro-Israel communities together

by | Dec 5, 2014 | Other News

Those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans of both the U.S. military and the Israel Defense Forces, teens, seniors, students, professors, Christians and Jews comprised the audience of about 600 for the premier of the new documentary, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front. Taking place at the Regent University Theatre on Nov. 20, organizers and audience members agreed that this event was such a success due in large part to the great partnership between the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University.

Kevin Lefcoe, chair of the CRC’s Outreach Committee, organizer of the event and host of Rabbi Raphael Shore’s day says, “What was so gratifying to me and really energizing for all, was virtually everyone said ‘yes.’ ‘Yes, I’ll go online and RSVP.’ ‘Yes, I’ll come to the event.’ ‘Yes, I’ll re-arrange my schedule.’ ‘Yes, I’ll help out.’ ‘Yes, I’ll support this effort.’ We really came together to support a common interest among us. So we know we can do it—Say ‘Yes’ when asked to support each other. That unifies us and keeps our community strong.”

Jerusalem U founder and executive producer of Beneath the Helmet, Rabbi Shore introduced the film, offering a rare look into the IDF by highlighting the dramatic transformation of five young Israeli high school graduates who left the comfort of their homes and families to become the defenders of a nation and a people.

Rabbi Shore shared with the audience how it came to be that Jerusalem U’s filmmakers were granted unprecedented access into the lives of these young people, which allowed them to create a unique and intimate documentary that brings to the screen the rarely seen human faces of the young men and women who are the soldiers of the IDF. Following the eightmonth basic training of the five teenagers, the film pushes viewers to ask themselves, ‘To what lengths would you take to defend your homeland?’ Living in a tiny country surrounded by enemies, these young soldiers know that the outlook, attitudes and experiences that they share with audiences across the globe, will impact the rest of their lives and quite likely, also the lives of the viewers.

Rabbi Shore was treated to a ‘red carpet’ welcome from the Tidewater community, booked with meetings and engagements from dawn until after dusk, making the most of every moment to reach the community with Jerusalem U’s films and programming. Starting the day with an interview on the 700 Club set with CBN’s CEO, Gordon Robertson, followed by meetings with community leaders, lunch with the 400 Club and their wives and guests, Rabbi Shore was greeted warmly, listened to intently and showered with questions and thanks at the end of each appearance. Rabbi Shore spent time in the afternoon with more than 80 students who stayed after school to hear from him on the subject of Israel engagement at Tallwood High School’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy. Then, what was supposed to be a quick half an hour with Regent University’s film students, became an hour with both graduate and undergraduate future filmmakers and producers, therefore cutting short the possibility of a quick rest and dinner before heading to the Regent University School of Communications Building for the Tidewater premier.

With Beneath the Helmet being so well received at the premier, the Community Relations Council looks forward to the partnership with Jerusalem U and plans to share it with more audiences in Tidewater. The CRC purchased the licensing rights for the coming year and requests for screenings at churches, synagogues and with youth groups are already rolling in. Groups that might be interested (civic leagues, high school and college classes, as well as organizations, military organizations, wives clubs, etc.) may request a screening by contacting Robin Mancoll, director, Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater at RMancoll@ujft.org.

by Robin Mancoll