Praying With Lior II-By Howard Blas
“Praying With Lior’ Movie and Visit With Filmaker Ilana Trachtman
“I felt as if someone had hit me over the head with a mallet!” commented Shoafim camper, Yishai Barth, from his wheelchair. “I felt jealous of Lior since I’ll never be able to do what he can!” Yishai was sharing his reaction to the 87 minute documentary, “Praying With Lior,” with filmmaker, Ilana Trachtman, during her recent Tisha B’av visit to Camp Ramah in New England. Trachtman, whose plane was delayed nearly five hours due to inclement weather, still managed to spend Tisha B’av afternoon and evening with every camper and staff member in camp. Following her discussions with b-side, a-side and a special meeting with members of the voc ed program, Trachtman noted Yishai’s comment was, perhaps, “The most interesting comment in the 30,000 or 40,000 questions I have heard in my year traveling around the country.” Trachtman directed and produced the moving film about Philadelphia native, Lior Leibling, as he prepared for his bar mitzvah, pointed out that Yishai, like Lior, has his own incredible strengths—his ability to put together complex thoughts and express them publicly, to name two. The moving film follows Lior and his family as the young man with a gift for davening (prayer) and spirituality, and with Down Syndrome, prepares for his bar mitzvah. Campers and staff enjoyed the delightful, moving film and asked what Trachtman called “perceptive questions” following each screening. Campers were also treated with the chance to meet Mr. Donny Adelman, the former director of Camp Ramah in Glen Spey, NY and the first director of Camp Ramah in New England. He was the first director to open the doors of a Ramah camp to campers with special needs. The audience vigorously applauded both distinguished guests.