Is it possible for gay and lesbian ultra-Orthodox Jews to reconcile their sexual orientation with their devout religious beliefs? Director Sandi Simcha DuBowski examines the question carefully and quietly in Trembling Before G-D, a documentary available for free online viewing at SnagFilms.
Over a period of years, DuBowski interviewed Hasidic and Orthodox Jews in New York, California, Florida, Britain, and Israel, all individuals struggling with their feelings. One man has undergone therapy for more than 10 years in an attempt to "cure" his homosexuality. Others have been ostracized from their families and the communities in which they were raised. Still others prefer to remain anonymous. DuBowski also talked to different medical experts and religious leaders.
In his review for another site, Eric D. Snider commented: "Though the stories are compelling in their humanity and the striking quandaries they present, even for straight viewers, they develop a sameness after a while. None of the stories are outrageous or especially moving; in fact, most of them are not stories so much as case studies ... They are portraits of people, and good ones, but the film falls into a rut long before it's over. That said, it offers several interesting insights into the seemingly incongruous matters of homosexuality and orthodox religion." Reviewing it for The Village Voice, Jessica Winter concluded: "DuBowski's sober, scrupulous documentary doesn't lash out at an oppressive religious structure so much as offer a hopeful prayer-out of love and devotion-that it be made better."