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A Film by Menachem Roth and Ron Ofer
Written and Directed by Menachem Roth
Ron Ofer Films, 2012
Runtime: 51 & 60 Minutes
Languages: Yiddish and Hebrew with English Subtitles
Distributed by Ruth Diskin Ltd.

Reviewed by Boris Segel - April 10, 2014

Pursued is a documentary that follows Menachem Roth as he sets out to confront the man who abused him twenty-years earlier. At the time that the abuse took place, Roth was a boarder at a Haredi Yeshiva (an ultra-orthodox, Jewish school). His abuser was the son of the school's Rabbi, and at the time of the abuse Roth did not tell anyone about it. Now, at age thirty-five, Roth, who had set his religion aside, cut off his payot (side curls) and moved to Germany, has returned to Israel to excise his demons.

I found Pursued to be a very difficult documentary to watch. At times, it appeared to me that Roth is doing himself more harm than good as he tracks down his abuser, and I did not like watching him cause himself so much pain. On the other hand, there is nothing graphic or indecent about this documentary. The film does not bash Orthodox Jews. It just exposes the fact that abusers come from all walks of life, and from all religious and secular persuasions. Roth, and the film's producer, Ron Ofer, treat this very difficult subject with tact and consideration for both average viewers and those who might have experienced similar abuse.

The documentary provides a deep, personal glimpse into Roth's life, and his conflicts about confronting and possibly exposing his abuser. The film also looks at how Roth is torn between maintaining the secular lifestyle he has adopted and returning to the religious lifestyle that he grew up with. As if this is not enough, Roth is also torn between his relationship with a young German woman and a young Israeli woman.

Roth has a tortured soul, and he was very brave to open up his life to viewers around the world. Hopefully his experiences, and how he dealt with them will help others to deal with similar situations. This documentary will also help people to understand the long term and unseen scars that can result from childhood abuse. From beginning to end, Pursued is a powerful documentary. It is a documentary that puts you into the shoes of the protagonist and makes you question how you might have reacted if you were the young Roth, and what you might have done as an adult to correct the wrong done to you as a child!

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