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Tribeca 2018 Review: “Wendy’s Shabbat” (2018) ★★★★


I think that being religious is not something one might consider as ‘fancy’. Whether a person practices a certain religion or not shouldn’t be a big deal. Yet, there is a group of Jewish senior citizens for whom celebrating Shabbat at the local fast food place called Wendy’s is a really big deal! It’ an ordinary fast food place that does not offer any special food – burgers, fries or salads. But as long as it brings happiness, satisfaction and the feeling of belonging to this lovely group of seniors, one can say that it has succeeded in its mission.

Directed by Rachel Myers “Wendy’s Shabbat” follows the group an elderly people who gather at their favorite fast food restaurant Wendy’s every year to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shabbat. For them, this is a great opportunity to get together once a year, eat and laugh together. These adorable seniors are cheerful, young in spirit and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this special day in their community.

Roberta Mahler – one of the protagonists of the documentary is 87. Her husband Jack has passed away and now her puppy Manzie is her only companion. In human years Manzie is almost 94.5 (13.5 in dog years), which practically makes her older than her owner. Roberta shares her story about their tradition of gathering at Wendy’s and how their community celebrates the most important holiday. I promise this documentary will leave the viewers stunned of how young these elderly people are at heart. They are full of energy and enjoy every minute they have. Compared to them, we – the ungrateful younger generation seems to always take life for granted.

In conclusion, there is something very sweet about Rachel Myers’ piece. It is charming and full of life. It gives that rare look to such concept as community, friendship, and care, that we do not see often nowadays. So it’s not about how people treat religion but how it unites them. Saying that stories like “Wendy’s Shabbat” are important to tell is the least I can say. And if you are afraid of aging or think that seniors cannot change much, Myer’s film is there to show us the opposite and to give us a generation of seniors to admire.



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