November 19, 2019

Next Year Jerusalem: The Journey of a Lifetime

Next Year Jerusalem: The Journey of a Lifetime

Can a group of elderly nursing home residents travel abroad? The answer is yes – with care and love and a lot of planning. Such is the case for 8 residents (ages 87-97) of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Connecticut, who journey to Israel with a film team, nursing companions, and the CEO of the Home, Andrew Banoff. Their journey is shown in the excellent documentary, Next Year Jerusalem: The Journey of a Lifetime.


Next Year Jerusalem: The Journey of a Lifetime. “>Lisa Niver, explained to me: “At the end of the Passover Seder, we say:  “Next year in Jerusalem!” As in next year will be different, we will be free from what enslaves us and celebrate together in Jerusalem. It is a joyous end to the seder meal where we retell the story and remember when Jews were slaves in Egypt and had to flee for freedom.”


This is the most tender, heart-warming movie I have ever seen. The people within are so vibrant and caring, the filmmaking is honest and respectful, and the elders are full of joie de vivre, wisdom, faith, and, of course, both trepidation and excitement about traveling. Some of the elders had never been out of the country, while others had traveled before. The film shows the entire range of the travel experience, from the excitement of planning to being in country to the readjustment of coming home.


It is remarkable to watch the elders being wheeled about the ruins and important sites, the jokes (especially by Bill, 97), the kindness, the cameras and smiles and joy. Truly, tears came to my eyes throughout the movie.


At the Western Wall, one bearded man hailed Leslie Novis (90), saying “Hey Grandpa!” and  then finding out when Leslie been there last, 40 years ago. The outpouring of kindness, help, faith, and comraderie at the Western Wall was both moving and a glimpse into the cultures of age, gender, and nationality.


Leslie Novis (90) visits Caesaria in Israel, as seen in Next Year
Jerusalem, a film by David Gaynes. “>For more information:

Director – David Gaynes
Run Time – 72 minutes
Language – English
Format – Digital (DCP & BluRay)
Year – 2014
Genre – Documentary

Note: Extra special thanks to First Run Features, who kindly sent a review copy of this movie. It has changed my life.

” rel=”author”> Jessica Voigts who is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids (it’s never too young to start!). She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She founded the Family Travel Bloggers Association, and the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can usually find her family by water – anywhere in the world.