HomeNewsBusinessCultureHealthVideoNewsletter

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Exodus Decoded's Simcha Jacobovici

Emmy Award-winning director/producer Simcha Jacobovici is in Toronto to take part in a screening and discussion of his documentary Exodus Decoded.
By: Rebecca Ihilchik
Published: January 20th, 2012 in Culture » Film » Interviews
Simcha JacoboviciPic: allvoices.com

Emmy Award-winning director/producer Simcha Jacobovici is in Toronto to take part in a screening and discussion of his documentary Exodus Decoded.

Exodus Decoded (2007) is a film dealing with archeological discoveries about the biblical Exodus from Egypt. Produced by famed Titanic director James Cameron, the film has Jacobovici uncovering historical evidence that provides details - or proof - of the momentous event.

Named “Canada’s Top Documentary Filmmaker” by the Ryerson Review of Journalism, Simcha Jacobovici is an award-winning filmmaker, lecturer, and frequently published writer. His feature documentaries include Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews (1983), Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies, and the American Dream (1997), Quest for the Lost Tribes (1999), and The Lost Tomb of Jesus (2007), among others. He also co-hosted the television series The Naked Archeologist.

An Israeli-born Canadian, Jacobovici holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. He currently resides in Israel with his wife and children.

The screening will take place 8 p.m. this Saturday night (January 21) at BAYT synagogue in Thornhill. Tickets are $15 in advance (book online at www.bayt.ca) or $18 at the door. Learn more about Exodus Decoded at www.exodusdecoded.com.

What is it about ancient Jewish and biblical history that holds such an attraction for you?

When you look at ancient Jewish history, you’re really looking at the foundations of Western civilization. I’m fascinated by going back to the initial point of departure to look at my own history in order to understand who I am and who we are. The thing that defines us as Jews isn’t that we all love falafel or gefilte fish - it’s the Torah (Jewish Bible). It fascinates me, the idea of going back to the Torah and using my professional skills as an investigative journalist to get information that lends depth to that era. I can’t think of anything that’s more exciting or meaningful.

What was the idea behind Exodus Decoded?

Judaism is a historical religion, meaning that our story is what we believe and claim to be actual history. The Exodus is not a myth or a parable, but an event that played itself out in history. God made Himself, according to the Torah, physically known through plagues and signs and wonders. The question is, though, things like that don’t just happen without leaving a trace. Three million people don’t just get up and leave Egypt without anybody noticing. Cataclysmic events - hail, darkness, a sea splitting - these things leave traces. If the text says it happened, there can’t be nothing there. The quest to find that evidence was what drew me to make this film.

What ramifications are there to your research on the world as we know it?

Within a Jewish context, the debate over whether the biblical exodus happened or not is very charged. It’s a debate that has people’s reputations and fundamental beliefs on the line. If you believe the Exodus is just a story, that’s one thing. But if someone demonstrates with scientific tools that it actually happened, it forces people to come to terms with their own position on these fundamental matters. It’s emotionally charged.

I don’t make these films to propagandize people into living a certain way. The way I see it, my job, like any good reporter’s, is to report the facts. What people do with it is their business. Some might decide to take the Torah more seriously. Others may say, if you have faith, you don’t need science, so why is he doing this altogether? Still others will say that if you have science, you don’t need faith. My job is to dig up the information and report it. What I can report is that I went looking for evidence of the biblical exodus, and I found it.

Is there a difference between the way Israeli audiences react as opposed to North American audiences?

It’s a bit different in Israel, because even to the most secular Israeli, the history is part of the cultural fibre. In the Diaspora it’s different. If someone sees themself as a Canadian or American Jew, the story tends to be put in the box of faith as opposed to the box of history. In Israel, there’s more of a willingness to talk about it between secular and religious communities. Here it’s a little more charged.

Are you currently working on anything?

I made a film called The Lost Tomb of Jesus about the cave in which Jesus was buried. There were many headlines about it, and people criticized the film for not having ‘smoking gun’ evidence. Now, four years in the making, I’m hopefully going to show everybody that ‘smoking gun’ evidence. I quite literally dug some more, and will be reporting what I found.

I’m also working on an archeological hagaddah (Passover text). People will be able to sit down at the Seder table and look at the archeological proof of everything they’re reading about. Hopefully it’ll spark some interesting discussions. Maybe I’ll dig up some 3500-year old horseradish or oxidized gefilte fish!

Related articles: Simcha Jacobovici, Exodus Decoded, Bible, Egypt, James Cameron, Titanic, Documentary, Lost Tomb of Jesus, The Naked Archeologist, Jewish, Ancient History, Israel, Avatar
1 times
Walking Dead and Kvetching with Jewish Zombies

Interview with 'Night of Living Jews' film director Oliver Noble to discuss anti-Semitism, Jewish roots, blood libels and kvetching

Evan Goldberg Talks 'Goon', Jews in Hockey and Growing up

Goldberg is Seth Rogen's creative partner, and a co-writer and producer of Superbad, 50/50 and The Green Hornet.

Director Len Pearl on his Documentary: ‘The Jewish Canadians'

Exclusive interview sheds light on documentary about Jews’ role in Canadian history

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Twilight’s Michael Welch On Life After The Saga

The young actor talks about shooting the popular franchise and his upcoming projects.

Exclusive Interview: Yoav Factor on 'Reuniting the Rubins'

Shalom Life interviews the director about his first feature film

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Exodus Decoded's Simcha Jacobovici

Emmy Award-winning director/producer Simcha Jacobovici is in Toronto to take part in a screening and discussion of his documentary Exodus Decoded.

Walking Dead and Kvetching with Jewish Zombies

Interview with 'Night of Living Jews' film director Oliver Noble to discuss anti-Semitism, Jewish roots, blood libels and kvetching

Evan Goldberg Talks 'Goon', Jews in Hockey and Growing up

Goldberg is Seth Rogen's creative partner, and a co-writer and producer of Superbad, 50/50 and The Green Hornet.

Director Len Pearl on his Documentary: ‘The Jewish Canadians'

Exclusive interview sheds light on documentary about Jews’ role in Canadian history

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Twilight’s Michael Welch On Life After The Saga

The young actor talks about shooting the popular franchise and his upcoming projects.

Exclusive Interview: Yoav Factor on 'Reuniting the Rubins'

Shalom Life interviews the director about his first feature film

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Exodus Decoded's Simcha Jacobovici

Emmy Award-winning director/producer Simcha Jacobovici is in Toronto to take part in a screening and discussion of his documentary Exodus Decoded.

news_scroll_down
Blogs
Take Responsibility for Your Own

The 19 year old sophomore sat on the exam table looking at the floor. A college student with obvious charm

The Stanford Prison Experiment at

In 1971, researchers set up a prison in the basement of Stanford University's Psychology Department. The idea was to

U.S. vs. Europe: Health Care

As I have tried to make abundantly clear the United States is the only country in the industrialized world that

Hands Off America

Alright, that does it.Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have been willing to do their part for

Fat Returns After Liposuction ...

A study appeared in a journal titled “Obesity” which was reported by a group from the University of Colorado. In

What does Victory Look Like?

Sixty-five years ago today, World War II officially came to an end. On September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister

Share This Story With Your Friends!

Your Name:

Friend's Name:

E-Mail:

Friend's E-Mail:

(This information will not be displayed publicly)

Optional Message: