The Israel Film Service Collection

The Mystery of the Birds Heads

40 Minutes, 1981
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Directed by: David Greenberg
Production:Igal Efrati, David Schitz
Production Company:Israeli Film Service
Photographer: Ilan Rosenberg
Narrator: Gideon Shemer
Languages: English, Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

An Israeli Film Service documentary about the old machzor (prayer book) of the Jewish community in Worms.
In a protected safe in the National Library in Jerusalem, a more than 700-year-old book is kept. Its decorated pages contain the oldest documented sentence in Yiddish. But despite the document’s importance, some questions about it remain unanswered: why do the human figures portrayed in it, as well as in other contemporary Jewish manuscripts, have beaks of birds? And who is Rabbi Baruch Ben Yitzhak, who ordered its publishing? In this film, director David Greenberg comes to the German city of Worms to solve the mysteries surrounding the Worms Machzor. On his way to a possible solution, he tells the story of a Jewish community with a rich history, and how its famous symbol was miraculously saved from the claws of the Nazis.


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