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Fire Within

by Samantha Slaven Saturday, Mar. 15, 2003 at 6:07 AM

Fire Within invites audiences to examine the complexities and simplicity of human relationships through the eyes of the world’s youth, the leaders of tomorrow, and perhaps instill a desire for cross-cultural tolerance and acceptance, transforming the way we perceive each other. If these teens can achieve peaceful co-existence amongst themselves, the world needs to know; perhaps the effect will be infectious, and perhaps one day the concept of peace in the Middle East can be a reality.

Fire Within Exhibits Hope For Peace in the Middle East

A new photography exhibit and screening explores issues of tolerance and friendship between a group of young Israeli Arab Muslims, Israeli Jews and American Jews

"This changed my life, I'm ready to go home and change the world."

--JITLI participant

LOS ANGELES-Hollywood director and photographer Richard Berman, in association with Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs, founders of the San Diego-based Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute (JITLI), presents the first preview of his soon-to-be-released documentary film Fire Within on Sunday, March 30 at The University of Judaism in Los Angeles. The exhibit is part of a nationwide tour including San Diego, New York, Atlanta and Houston. Recognition in the final cut of the film is available to those wishing to sponsor spreading the message of cross-cultural tolerance and friendship.

The collection of 30 powerful, compelling, thoughtful and humanistic photographs captured from the soon-to-be-released film exhibits a range of expression, cultures and emotional landscapes as experienced by a group of Israeli, Arab and American teenagers who traveled together for two weeks as part of the 2002 JITLI program. The photographs, signed by Richard Berman, will be available for sale.

The film Fire Within, which is currently in post production, chronicles the two-week project, which each year undergoes a rigorous process to select 30 teenagers, all leaders in their communities, to confront their fears, prejudices and allegiances during a unique journey through Spain and Israel. Ten of the participants are Israeli Arab Muslim Bedouins, 10 are Israeli Jews and 10 are American Jews-and for many, it is the first time they have ever left Israel. The teenagers' personal growth, emotional challenges and intellectual transformations are beautifully captured as they confront their own prejudices and ultimately walk away with mutual respect, tolerance and friendships they never thought possible. Powerful bonds of friendship transcend race and religion, as the participants establish indelible trust with one another regardless of their differences or any preconceived prejudices.

The exhibit takes place from 3:30 - 7:30 p.m. March 30 at Los Angeles' University of Judaism. There will be continuous screenings of a 10-minute trailer of the film, beginning at 3:30 p.m. and airing every half hour, as well as personal appearances and question-and-answer sessions held by Gary Jacobs, Richard Berman and several of the U.S.-based program participants.


What: Fire Within photography exhibition and film preview, with a personal appearance by filmmaker Richard Berman and a few of the U.S.-based teenage participants from the film.

When: March 30, 3:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: The University of Judaism

15600 Mulholland Drive

Los Angeles, California 90077

(888) 853-6763, (310) 476-9777

Admission: Free

Synopsis: Fire Within, a photography exhibit and film preview, showcases imagery from a compelling, emotional and enlightening two-week program sponsored by UJF Israel Center, LLC. Thirty teenage leaders-10 Israeli Arabs, 10 Israeli Jews and 10 American Jews-traveled together through Spain and Israel exploring their differences and similarities, confronting their fears and prejudices, and engaging in heated debates. What transpires is inspiring; they find that what divides them is secondary to what unites them as human beings, and they walk away with mutual respect, tolerance for one another and friendships they never thought possible.


Samantha Slaven Richard Berman

samantha slaven publicity Mopane (moh-paah-nee)

310.923.0964 310.451.2330

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