The movie follows 7 Israeli and Palestinian children around, and looks at the conflict through their experiences. It tells their story.
Last year, my students had the opportunity to interview Sanabel, one of the children from the film. (Read interview.)
This year, we had the opportunity to be part of a video chat (google hangout) with the internationally acclaimed director of the film, Justine Shapiro.
She gave us some insights to the film Promises, the process of making documentary film in general, as well as thoughts on the on-going Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. She also mentioned the importance of being articulate, the importance of foreign language studies, and why her son was wearing a Mexican soccer jersey in the documentary Our Summer in Tehran. (Watch trailer.)
(For language arts teachers)
"...And really, that was the question. Who's articulate? Who can express something of themselves, and something of their experience with words. Because we're making a film, right? It could be that... I'm sure that all of you - every single one of you - is expressive in your own way. But when you're making a film, you need kids who are expressive with words..." (12:00)
(For foreign language teachers)
-On the importance of learning a foreign language:
"I think it is probably one of the most important things one could learn." (21:10)
"...It was only when I decided, okay. I'm gonna take a French class. I'm gonna make myself read a half an hour a day. And I'm gonna make myself TALK. I'm gonna talk to people. I'm gonna make a lot of mistakes. They're gonna be mean to me. But I'm gonna talk. And I did. And that's when I started learning French. And then... I'd say my French is fantastic now, because I got so much foundation in school - even though I didn't really think I got it - that foundation actually ended up helping me a lot.
So for those of you who are struggling in your language at school - you're getting more than you realize you're getting. But don't give up, because if you go and spend time in a place where they speak that language, you will learn to speak it. And it's INCREDIBLE speaking another language. It really is. It just - it opens your mind up in so many ways."
(An update on Shlomo)
-On why Sholmo didn't appear in the updates:
"...Shlomo had left the Orthodox community. And I think that he was probably in the interim - sort of the interim stages of trying to figure out whether or not he was part of the Orthodox community or not - And I think that's why he - you know - ultimately why he wasn't in the film." (31:00)
(The Ambiguity of the film)
"...What did you think the scene (burping scene) was about? And there isn't one answer. And that's really why... When you read a great book, or you watch a film that you think is... that sticks with you... It's probably because there are scenes like that - that provoke questions.
"You know sometimes, I know it's very satisfying to have answers, but as you grow up one of the things you learn is to just be comfortable with the questions and with the ambiguity. Because, there's very little certainty in life. There's very little that's black and white. And so we put that scene in there because it's about a lot of different things." (9:00)
(On bias, being overly-opinionated, and ambiguity)
"What I realized in the process of making the film is that you can hold more than one opinion in your hand. Right? That's really important. We all feel like we have to choose sides. Or we have this binary way of thinking: this or that; right or wrong; black or white. And as I said earlier, really, even in your own lives if you think of any issue that you feel passionate about... If you really, really, honestly feel into whatever that is - whether it's somebody you really, really don't like. Or something you think is really, really, really, really ugly. Or something that really, really, really, really makes you mad... If any of you really look at it, you'll see... you'll know that there's something there that's... that you can't totally reject... There are very few things that are just, absolutely one way or the other. I realized in the course of making the film that you can have more than one opinion. You can have two opinions or three opinions. We're human. You know, that's kindof what we're all about as human beings. Is that we're capable of holding on to ambiguity." (27:40)
(On being overly-opinionated vs. listening and saying, 'I don't know.')
"Now, you know, when I hear people - like REALLY opinionated about the Palestinians or the Israelis or Israel or Palestine - I just put my hands over my head and I think, "until you've spent time there... Until you've spent time in people's living rooms... Until you've broken bread with them... Until you've read a couple of books - NOT Wikipedia - ...I don't want to hear your opinion. I really don't. It's much more important to say, "I don't know." I think it takes a lot of courage to say don't know. It's true.
...It takes a lot more courage and intelligence to say, 'You know, this is what I understand. This is what I've read. This is what I've heard. I kindof feel like this, but the fact is... until I do more research until I meet more people or read the... ...I don't really know.'
I hear the smartest people in the world saying that." (29:45)
(On the flaws of the film)
"...You know, we didn't succeed entirely. There aren't enough girls in the film, certainly. There are no Mizrahi kids - children of Jews from Middle Eastern countries. So we couldn't be entirely representative. There were no Christian Palestinians.. (14:50)
(On the editing process)
"When we finished shooting, we had a hundred and sixty hours of material. ...160 H.O.U.R.S. ...Of material. We could have featured 14 kids. We had enough footage - what you saw in the film was 7 kids. We shot enough of another 7 kids that we ended up having to edit out of the film.
The hardest part about making a documentary film is editing. You know, you leave a LOT of great stuff out of the film - it's very hard."
There are plenty more highlights. If you'd like to see the interview in its entirety, here it is. The text of the interview is after the page break.
If you're a teacher, and use the film Promises in the classroom, consider doing something like this. You can get information about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Ms. Shapiro said, much of being an independent documentary film-maker involves raising money. If you believe in the story and mission of the film Promises, or Our Summer in Tehran, please consider donating. (It is tax-deductible.)
Habecker: Ok guys, I think we're about to go live.
Jerlecki: Did she join?
Habecker: There you are.
Students: Cheering. Lots and lots of cheering.
Justine: Ok. I think we're good now?
Habecker: Yeah, well... once the students are quiet you should probably repeat that.
Justine: Oh. Ok. Are we all good? Are we all here?
Habecker: Yep. I think so. I see you. And I think you see us.
Justine: I see you.
Habecker: Well great! Welcome.
Justine: Sorry I'm pathetic with this thing. But now I know how to use it! You see, I've received and education.
Habecker: Alright. ...Well, I know that we've just had all this crazy technical stuff, but could you give us maybe 30 seconds to try to switch around the lights? Because I'm at the front of the room, so we have the lights up so that you can see me. But the screen is also at the front of the room for us... So we have the...
Justine: Is that better?
Habecker: Yeah. I think that's good. Can you guys see?
Students: Cheering! YEAH!
Habecker: Yeah. I think that's really good.
Justine: How's that?
Habecker: That is perfect. Everybody on this end is really excited.
Justine: So how much time do we have?
Habecker: A little bit more than half an hour. ...Well we have 31 minutes.
Justine: 31 minutes. Alright. So... I'm looking at a lot of green bleachers. Is that right? Is it green?
Habecker: Yeah. Yeah, I think so.
Justine: Can you wave to me? So I can see if you're mov- OH, I see. There you go. Now, I don't have to look at myself, do I? No I don't. Here we go. Oh there you are. Oh my gosh - there are are a lot of you. So what grade are you guys in?
Students: 7th!!!!! (One joker: 4th Grade!)
Habecker: Did you catch that?
Justine: 7th? 7th? Middle school?
Justine: 7th. Ok. So, my son is in 8th grade. So I sort of know where you're at.
Habecker: Alright. A couple of our first questions would be: Who are you? What have you done? And what are you doing now? I think most people in here know who you are - know a little bit of your background. We've watched Promises. We saw the preview for Our Summer in Tehran. We watched a couple of the old Globe Trekker highlights. So if you want to tell us a little bit about who you are, and what you've done, that might be a good place to start.
Justine: Ok. Well, when I was 11 years old I was really interested in 2 things. I was really interested in politics, and I was really interested in theater; in acting. I grew up in Berkeley, California - which is very politically active - a liberal place - when I was growing up everybody thought it was... That's where the hippies hung out. They called - it wasn't called Berkeley - they called it Bezerkley. So, I ended up focusing on theater. I was an actress from the age of 11 until the time I was about 30. But what I realized was that I really wasn't watching television. -I actually didn't even own a television. I was watching documentary film. I really loved documentary film. And so I thought, well... Even though I could make more money as an actress, I thought that I could be a lot happier if I was making the kind of film that I really enjoyed watching. So I started learning how to make documentary films, when I was 30. And at the same time, I got this amazing job hosting Globe Trekker, and I got to travel all over the world for about 10 years. It was a very low-budget production. It was being produced out of England. I literally had to fight with the producer to put water in the budget. Because in a lot of the countries we were travelling in, beer was cheaper than water.
(5:07) So, I had a really wonderful time for about 20 years. From about age 30-50, I traveled all over the world and I made this film Promises - which you saw - which took 7 years to make. And after that, I made a couple of short films and then I made another big film in Iran with my son - who is your age - and that took another 6 years. And now, I am... You know, a lot of the energy one spends making a documentary film is fundraising. Because, if you want to make a film - or if you want to write something that is your voice, and your opinion, and your idea, and your view, you have to be independent, right? I didn't want PBS telling me what to say, or HBO telling me what to say. I wanted to say what I wanted to say - and so I had to raise my own money. And so a lot of the - when you hear the term independent - it basically means that the filmmaker isn't being controlled by Warner Brothers, or Showtime... but you're making your own story. And it's a wonderful privilege to be able make the film you want to make and tell the story you want to tell, but the price you pay is that you have to spend a lot of time raising money to make your own film.
So that's what I did for 20 years: acting, traveling, making these documentary films. I have a son who's 14. And now I'm writing a TV series, actually. ...Which I can't tell you much about right now. It's exciting for me to be able to write dialogue, and write the action and control what happens. Because with documentary you really have no control over what people say and do - you know like...
For example, in the film you saw, you remember when Shlomo burps? Remember that burping scene?
Student: What scene?
Habecker: Do you guys remember the burping scene?
Students: Yeah! Yeah, yeah!
Justine: Shlomo, the Jewish kid is standing in the Palestinian neighborhood, and he and the Palestinian kid have a burping fight? A burping contest?
Justine: Well, we didn't know that was going to happen. And then when it happened, it was amazing. It was a wonderful surprise. But that's what documentary's about. You just want to be there. You never know what's going to happen. You have no control - very little control. You have a lot more control in the edit than you do in the shooting. So now I'm enjoying writing a project because I get to control everything.
Habecker: You know, we uhhhh... I hope I'm not taking one of the student's questions here... We have a bunch of students that have asked stuff. This one came up, but I didn't put it on the list to be asked. We talk about that burping scene quite a bit.
Habecker: We're wondering about it, because it's kindof ambiguous as to why you put it in there. It looks to me like the kids are just having fun, having a good time. (I'm leaning into the mic here, so I'm sorry if you can't see me) It looks like the kids are really having a good time- but there's also the idea that... If I'm out in the hallway - I'm talking to my 7th graders - if they're out in the hallway - and a kid from a group that doesn't typically get along with them comes up and starts burping at them, how would they handle that situation? And would they handle it differently if there was a camera in their face or not? What is your take on that? Was it kids being kids having fun? Or was there a little passive aggression going on? Or... I'm sure you've probably thought about it a lot more than we have - although we watch the movie a lot.
Justine: Well, I throw the ball back to your court. What did you think the scene was about? And there isn't one answer. And that's really why... When you read a great book, or you watch a film that you think is... that sticks with you... It's probably because there are scenes like that - that provoke questions.
You know sometimes, I know it's very satisfying to have answers, but as you grow up one of the things you learn is to just be comfortable with the questions and with the ambiguity. Because, there's very little certainty in life. There's very little that's black and white. And so we put that scene in there because it's about a lot of different things. And I imagine 3 of you could tell me what that scene means to you, and it'll be right.
Habecker: Right. That's a good thought.
Justine: You know, in some ways it's a metaphor. It's a metaphor for... We thought... In some ways this is what is sounds like when politicians are talking to each other.
Habecker: Oooo... Don't even get me started.
We have a couple kids - we have a couple students who are going to come up and ask some questions if that's ok.
Justine: Of course!
Habecker: Alright, so Cassandra, go ahead.
Cassandra: Ehh... :) can't see me.
Justine: Hello Cassandra.
Cassandra: Hello! Ms. Shapiro, I'm really glad you could come here and talk to us. I know it took out some of your time, and I'm glad you could come and see us.
Justine: It's really my pleasure. It's an honor. Thank you.
Cassandra: You're welcome.
Justine: We made the film for you guys, you know? You're the people we made the film for. So, nice to see you. And I really appreciate how Philip has shared the film with his students over the years. What's your question, Cassandra?
Cassandra: I want to know how you chose the kids for the documentary, because there are a lot of Palestinian and Israeli kids. Like... did you know them? Or how did you choose them?
Justine: Right. Yeah. So in Israel... Israeli and Palestinian culture is very informal. There are other cultures - like in Iran - which are much more formal. You make an appointment to meet someone. And you meet them once they've had the chance to shower, and dress, and put on make up, and make their house look nice and that's when you're allowed to come over.
Whereas in Israeli and Palestinian society, you call, you come over right away. You call from your cell phone when you're outside your front door and they say 'come on in' and the house is a mess. You know? It's just much more casual. It's a much more casual society. And also, B.Z. grew up in Israel, so he speaks Hebrew. And we had very, very good contacts with the Palestinian community - particularly in the Deheishe Refugee camp. So what had an 'in.'
And we literally - we went there in '95 and we spent a month just meeting kids. We'd ask the bus driver - do you know any really articulate kids? And really, that was the question. Who's articulate? Who can express something of themselves, and something of their experience with words. Because we're making a film, right? It could be that... I'm sure that all of you - every single one of you - is expressive in your own way. But when you're making a film, you need kids who are expressive with words - as well as - you want to feel like there's something in their facial expressions - something in their energy that's going to carry across camera. It's a lot like casting - right? Think of one of your favorite films - a big part of what makes a film great are the actors - what they bring to the screen. Well it's the same thing with documentary. You're casting your documentary. If you have a great idea for a documentary and great subject matter, but your characters are really kindof internal... and they don't have a lot of charisma... and they don't know how to articulate themselves... Well, they maybe talented, fabulous people, but they might not be the best kind of human being to have in a documentary. So we were looking for kids who were articulate, and we really asked everybody we knew. And then they would tell us about people - and we'd ask them. We went to schools. We went to after school programs. And then - you know - for example... the burping contest. After that happened, after the whole Shlomo burping thing, we crossed off our casting list for an Orthodox -
Ultra-Orthodox kid - because we had one. We knew we wanted to use that scene. So we stopped looking for an Ultra-Orthodox kid. When we met Yarko and Daniel, the twins - who are fantastic, right? They're funny, they're natural on camera. They're cute, right? They have a lovely energy as well. As soon as we met Yarko and Daniel, we said: ok. We're not going to look for any more secular - meaning, 'non-religious' Israeli kids. When we met Sanabel, and she read the letter from her father - remember that scene where she reads the letter from her father in prison?
Cassandra: Yeah. That was sad.
Justine: Right? She was very touching, and we knew that we had our Palestinian girl. But then we met Faraj, who was so charismatic and out there, and we thought: ok.... We're going to have TWO kids from the refugee camp. So, we were also trying to get, sort of a spectrum of the conflict in the children. You know, we didn't succeed entirely. There aren't enough girls in the film, certainly. There are no Mizrahi kids - children of Jews from Middle Eastern countries. So we couldn't be entirely representative. There were no Christian Palestinians.
(14:54) When we finished shooting, we had a hundred and sixty hours of material.
Cassandra: That's A LOT!
Justine: We had 160 H.O.U.R.S. ...Of material. We could have featured 14 kids. We had enough footage - what you saw in the film was 7 kids. We shot enough of another 7 kids that we ended up having to edit out of the film.
The hardest part about making a documentary film is editing. You know, you leave a LOT of great stuff out of the film - it's very hard.
There was a great scene when Sanabel's father got out of prison. Remember Sanabel - that Palestinian girl? Her dad was in prison? We were there when he was released from prison. And Sanabel's sister - you know the movie Titanic was huge. Have any of you seen the movie Titanic?
Students & Habecker: Yeah. (Basically all hands go up.)
Justine: So that movie was HUGE! All the girls called themselves Rose - and they had posters of Leonardo di Caprio in their bedroom. And I mean, on their walls. It was a huge, huge hit - that film.
And so, Sanabel's sister Sida - who didn't speak any English - she knew the words to the song, *sings* "Near, far, wherEVER you are. I believe that my heart will go on." And so when the father's released from prison, we have this amazing scene where Sanabel's sister is sing that song to him. Perfectly. And we shot it, and it was an amazing scene, but we couldn't use it because we couldn't get the rights to the music.
Habecker: MAN! That's tough.
We've got another person ready to ask another question.
Cassandra: BYE! Thank you!
Justine: Thank you Cassandra.
Habecker: And also, you're doing a great job of anticipating our questions. A couple of them - how many hours on the cutting room floor, how many extra hours of film? How many kids did you have? Preston is up next.
Justine: Ok. Hi Preston.
Preston: My question is, why did you have B.Z. as the narrator of the movie Promises?
Justine: That's a great question. So we were trying to figure out how to tie these stories together. Right? Because documentary films that work have the same qualities of any film that works. Mainly, great casting and a great story. Documentary films have a great story. Otherwise it's just a lot of time and kindof interesting information.
People love stories. It's the one thing all human beings all over the would through all time have in common. Humans. Love. Stories.
So, how are we gonna tell this story? How are we gonna tie together these 7 kids? ...So it's not just like... Oh. We're here... So it doesn't look like a news feature of 7 kids in different parts of the area. How do we tie it together?
So, B.Z. had a good story, because he really was part of that time period. He had worked as a news reporter there. And he spoke enough Arabic and Hebrew that he could - that he really was making great connections with the kids. He did NOT want to be in the film. That was one of our BIG arguments. ...Because I really wanted him to be in the film. And I wanted him to be the glue that tied all of this together.
And he didn't not want to do it because he didn't want to take focus away from the kids. And he was right. So the big challenge was: How do we bring B.Z. into the film ENOUGH so that he connects the kids and we see their relationship, but not so much that he takes focus AWAY from them?
That was our big challenge, and so when we were shooting, I'd always tell the cameraman to get some footage of B.Z. "Just in case."
And B.Z. would always be so mad at me when I'd tell the cameraman to shoot him. But I would jut say, "B.Z.... Just in case." And we ended up figuring out a way to have B.Z. in the film. ...lead us on the journey... And yet not take the focus away from the children. That's a great question.
Preston: Thank you very much.
Justine: Thank you, Preston.
Habecker: Here's another question. So, you said B.Z. speaks Hebrew. Do you speak any other languages as well?
Justine: Je parle Français. Hablo Español.
Justine: French and Spanish.
Habecker: Ok, we... my 8th hour... I think it was my 8th hour class? My 8th hour class had a big discussion about ...and I think I'm going to have to eat crow here... They were talking about your son Mateo and the Tehran video - where he's playing soccer, and he was wearing a soccer jersey.
Carlos, be quiet... (Carlos was the student who called me out on this... He asked if it was a Mexico jersey, I said my guess would have been that it was for Iran... I was, admittedly, more emphatic than I should have been...)
Was it an Iranian or was it a Mexican jersey that he was wearing?
Justine: Oh, Mexican. Mexican.
Students erupt with applause. Habecker considers ending interview right there and doling out detentions on the spot, but doesn't know how to do this while maintaining his last shred of dignity.
Habecker: ALRIGHT! Alright, alright! I'll pay you later!
Justine: (laughs) Yeah, because my son's father - my ex-husband is a - his name is Carlos Bolado - he's a Mexican film-maker. For some of the older people there, you probably - at some point maybe saw the film Como Agua Para Chocolate - Like Water for Chocolate? He was the editor on that film, and then he started directing.
We spent a lot of time in Mexico, we lived there for a year - a couple of years ago. Mateo goes there 2 or 3 times a year, and he's obviously a big Mexican soccer fan.
Habecker: So, would you say it's worth it to learn another language, or not?
Justine: I think it is probably one of the most important things one could learn. I found it very hard to learn French in school. I was a D student in school. I was so stupid in my French class, that when I asked my teachers questions, they thought I was just trying to be funny. Because the questions were SO stupid.
Habecker: I have to say, you are giving a lot of hope to a couple of these students in here.
Justine: Some people have brains - like my step-son? He's learning Spanish in school -it's amazing. He can speak Spanish. I couldn't do it. It was also like that for me with math. I couldn't. I just... my brain couldn't do it.
However, I fell in love with a Frenchman. I moved to France. I worked. I taught English. And I took a French class. And I still wasn't learning French.
It was only when I decided, okay. I'm gonna take a French class. I'm gonna make myself read a half-hour a day. And I'm gonna make myself TALK. I'm gonna talk to people. I'm gonna make a lot of mistakes. They're gonna be mean to me. But I'm gonna talk. And I did. And that's when I started learning French. And then... I'd say my French is fantastic now, because I got so much foundation in school - even though I didn't really think I got it - that foundation actually ended up helping me a lot.
So for those of you who are struggling in your language at school - you're getting more than you realize you're getting. But don't give up, because if you go and spend time in a place where they speak that language, you will learn to speak it. And it's INCREDIBLE speaking another language. It really is. It just - it opens your mind up in so many ways.
Habecker: We have a lot of multi-lingual students in here.
We have a couple - we have WAY more than we have time for. -Students with questions. I think Andres is next. So, here comes Andres.
Andres: Hello, my name is Andres Davila. Thanks for being here. Were you in the film... Were you in the Middle East during the film? Or were you somewhere else?
Justine: Was I in the Middle East?
Andres: During the film - or were you somewhere else?
Justine: During the filming?
Justine: Ah! No, no, no. I was there. I was there for every single minute of every moment. I was behind the scenes. I was directing the camera.
Justine: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Habecker: Alright. Thank you. We talk a lot... the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is... there's a lot of bias on both sides and we saw in your Our Summer in Tehran video you talked about being Jewish and so we had some questions about... were you aware (conscious) of that? Were you worried about that? I'm gonna actually - I'll ask Megan to come up here and ask her question. I think it ties in with this. If I have the line-up right.
Justine: Let me just say one thing. You know, before I went to Iran, people were really mad at me. My parents. Friends. They said, you are so selfish - look if you want to go to Iran, fine - but to take your son? You have no right to do that - to put him in a dangerous situation.
And pretty much everybody was upset with me wanting to go to Iran. Now, I - at the time, I was dating an Iranian guy - who had been in prison for 4 months. He was tortured, he was beaten. He was a journalist - he was a well-known journalist. And he was the only person who I - I had met a lot of Iranians - but I made a point of asking Iranians who had been in Iran a year or two before I was planning on going asking THEM what they thought about me going. And every single Iranian including him said to me, 'You'll be fine.' You'll be fine. The WORST thing that's gonna happen to you is they'll separate you from your son and question him for a couple of days. But no harm will come to you. And so, I decided to trust him. To trust him.
It was very complicated - there were a lot of difficulties - but no harm came to us.
Habecker: Megan, come on up.
Justine: My sister's name is Meegan (?) Hi, Megan.
Megan: Hello, Ms. Shaprio, and thanks for being here. My name is Megan Leiter, and my question is how did you feel seeing the story of the Palestinians when you might have had a different side?
Justine: Well that's interesting, you know? I grew up in Berkeley, ...I was born in South Africa. I have friends from South Africa, so I always kind of allied myself with the underdog. I thought of the Palestinians as the underdogs and I was very, very critical of Israel before I went. And then certainly when I went to the refugee camps, and I saw first-hand the suffering of the Palestinians I felt even more inclined to feel... I don't know... Kindof like I wanted to take sides. But, you know what I realized in the process of making the film is that you can hold more than one opinion in your hand. Right? So that's really important. We all feel like we have to choose sides. Or we have this binary way of thinking: this or that; right or wrong; black or white. And as I said earlier, really, even in your own lives if you think of any issue that you feel passionate about... If you really, really, honestly feel into whatever that is - whether it's somebody you really, really don't like. Or something you think is really, really, really, really ugly. Or something that really, really, really, really makes you mad... If any of you really look at it, you'll see... you'll know that there's something there that's... that you can't totally reject... Nothing is... You know... There are very few things that are just, absolutely one way or the other. I realized in the course of making the film that you can have more than one opinion. You can have two opinions or three opinions. We're human. You know, that's kindof what we're all about as human beings. Is that we're capable of holding on to ambiguity.
It's much more comforting when things are right or wrong, black or white. We like that. We like that pathway. But the truth of the matter is, things are grey. Most things are in the grey areas. And I learned to appreciate that making the film. That this is a very complicated situation: a very complicated situation. And that my job was not to judge. My job was to listen, and to give a voice to these people. And that was very liberating to me - to not feel like I had to have an opinion.
Or that one group was right and the other group was wrong. Now, you know, when I hear people - like REALLY opinionated about the Palestinians or the Israelis or Israel or Palestine - I just put my hands over my head and I think, "until you've spent time there... Until you've spent time in people's living rooms... Until you've broken bread with them... Until you've read a couple of books - NOT Wikipedia - ...I don't want to hear your opinion. I really don't. It's much more important to say, "I don't know." I think it takes a lot of courage to say don't know. It's true. I'd like to hear all of you say, "I don't know."
Students, Habecker, all: I DON'T KNOW!
Justine: And the fact is, most people don't. On a lot of subjects that you might feel passionate about really it is possible that you really know about all sides of that subject. It gives you the authority to have a really strong opinion. It takes a lot more courage and intelligence to say, 'You know, this is what I understand. This is what I've read. This is what I've heard. I kindof feel like this, but the fact is... until I do more research until I meet more people or read the... ...I don't really know.'
I hear the smartest people in the world saying that.
Megan: Thank you.
Habecker: Say thank you. (I missed it the first time. Apologies to the always-polite Megan.)
Megan: Thank you.
Justine: Thank you, Megan.
Jocelyn: My name's Jocelyn Portillo.
Jocelyn: Yeah. I was wondering if you knew why Shlomo didn't appear in the 2004 update.
Justine: Oh? Shlomo wasn't in the update?
Justine: Oh, no. He wasn't. You know it's actually a very interesting question Jocelyn, because about 2 years after we did that update B.Z. was in the market - the "Shuk" - the market in Old Jerusalem. And this kid walked up to him, and tapped him on the shoulder. B.Z. turned around, and this kid had ...kindof like a headband there, and was sortof... like regular clothes - and it was Shlomo.
And Shlomo had left the Orthodox community. And I think that he was probably in the interim - sort of the interim stages of trying to figure out whether or not he was part of the Orthodox community or not - And I think that's why he - you know - ultimately why he wasn't in the film.
Also, his father was very upset with us for including a few lines in the film. Do any of you - can you imagine what it might have been that upset Shlomo's father?
It was said, if you remember in the Orthodox scene where Shlomo and his Orthodox friends - his Yeshiva school friends - they're in the courtyard of the school playing with the tires? And there's a voiceover - we talk about the fact that Yeshiva boys don't have to serve in the Israeli Military. They get a stipend, but they don't have to serve. And that's a pretty big conflict in Isreal, because everyone has to serve. But the boys who go to Yeshiva - the religious school - they DON'T have to serve - and in fact - they get a stipend - so they can continue with their studies. So there's a lot of controversy over that in Israel.
Habecker: Ms. Shapiro - I'm sorry, but I have to cut you off. The buses - we have - our buses have to go to the high school, and the bell's going to ring. ...Uggg.. I'm not... We have 3 different clocks with 3 different times here, so I'm not sure which one is going... when the bell is going to ring.
But when the bell rings, the kids are gonna probably get up and take off.
We want to make sure that we say thank you.
Justine: Oh, Ok!
Habecker: And we really appreciate it.
Students: THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Justine: Thanks guys, have a good rest of the day. Be nice to your moms and dads and care-takers
Habecker: I don't know if you can hear me with all the external noise here. We have a student who's dying to ask you a question.
Habecker: I don't think he takes a bus, so if it's ok with you, I'll let him ask.
Justine: Yes, of course.
(Student interjecting): HEY!! FARAJ WON THAT RACE!!!
Preston: I was gonna ask
Justine: Is that Preston?
Preston: Did you get my Facebook thing?
Habecker: He says he sent you a Facebook friend request or something, I don't know.
Preston: It was a message.
Students in the background: OOOOOooooo!!!! ADD ME!! ADD ME!!
Nataleigh: Can I see if she noticed that the person in Faraj's lane cheated?
Habecker: Nataleigh has a question here too. Go ahead, Nataleigh.
Nataleigh: In Faraj's race, the person who won stepped out of his lane and got in Faraj's lane.
Nataleigh: Did you notice that?
Justine: Yeah, we did. We watched that tape over and over again in slow motion. Yep. *laughs* It's funny that you saw it too.
As far as the Facebook thing is concerned, I check my Facebook like once every 6 months - so don't take anything personally that I do or don't respond to.
Habecker: Alright. Well, thanks again.
Justine: You're welcome. If you want to try this again some other time, now that I know how to use google hangouts, you know? I'm... it was very nice, I'd be very open to that. So maybe next semester or however you want to do it.
Habecker: Ok. Do you mind if I give you a quick phone call, because the echo here is crazy.
Justine: Oh, yeah. Sure. Give me a ring. Bye.