'Til Kingdom Come' unmasked

Published date22 July 2021
This film represents a one-sided, biased perspective of Christian support. A well-researched and balanced look would have projected a much wider and deeper reality.

(JNS) In 2017, I was contacted by an Israeli filmmaker to help with a project she was working on. I don't recall how we connected but the topic was one close to me, about which I have spent a large portion of my life and the better part of my career. I was glad to help.

Maya reached out and we spoke at length. The next day, we followed up by email. In our first conversation, and subsequent conversations and meetings, I provided extensive background about the topic. She asked me to help open doors with people she could possibly include in her film or at least get additional information.

In her email, by way of introducing herself, which I used to introduce her to others she wrote, "I've started working on a new documentary on a subject that I find incredibly fascinating and timely: the relationship between Israel and the Christian world. For the past few months, I've been reading about this evolving friendship that is benefiting Israel. In a time when religious tensions are high, I feel that it is extremely important to understand and convey the firm bond between Jews and Christians and it is clear that the relationship that you've established speaks volumes to this cause." She concluded, "Looking forward to setting up a meeting and to get to know each other."

Adding film production to my résumé

We did meet and get to know one another. I was taken by her engaging manner and smile, as well as her background. Maya made aliyah from the USSR, something about which I had spent considerable time in my earlier life, freeing Jews from the Soviet Union. Through this, I also had several minutes of TV fame about which I negotiated a TV movie contract that was of interest to her. We also connected because she grew up in a kibbutz where my father's cousins lived and knew them. From my perspective, we were almost family. Naturally, I wanted to help her "understand and convey the firm bond between Jews and Christians," and the "evolving friendship that is benefitting Israel."

She gave me some movie title that meant nothing to me specifically but was cool.

I attempted to make a number of introductions for her, including some of my "A list." A few Christian friends agreed and some actually spoke to her. Others didn't respond. The remainder of those who did respond, while they trusted me, said they didn't know her or her agenda, and were not prepared to open up to someone they didn't know, and risk being misrepresented. I was surprised by this, but in hindsight, they were right to be suspicious. I am glad that they didn't engage her. Had they spoken with her, certainly on camera, they'd legitimately have had the right to feel burned by her, or me, something I'd never want associated with my friendship with these people with whom I tried to connect her.

After some time, I stopped hearing from Maya. So did my friends who did engage with her. I assumed that either she decided against doing the film, took a different direction, or had other sources and didn't need me. I was fine with either. Maybe she cast others in her film who played the part better.

Two-thumbs down

Two years later, I was interested to discover that her film, "Til Kingdom Come," was airing on Israeli national TV. Interested, I watched. I congratulated her for finishing the project. She wrote back and asked for my input, to which I never responded, simply because while the cinematography was beautiful, I didn't think she did a good job and had no reason to tell her that. I gave it a "thumbs down." I figured she did her thing, had her fun, got visibility throughout Israeli media, and that was that. I was wrong.

Recently, I was disappointed to hear that her film has been making its way around American/Jewish film festivals and in other countries as...

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