New Love Films

Shiva for My Mother


Directed by Yael Katzir

Produced by Dan Katzir & Yael Katzir

Cinematography: Dan Katzir

Color. Video. 52 minutes

Hebrew with English subtitles

A unique award-winning documentary that for the first time fully documented a Shivah, (the Jewish ritual of mourning) in real time. After the death of her mother, director Yael Katzir and her son videographer Dan Katzir documented the most intimate moments of this ancient tradition in their own home.  As the family sits together in the house of the deceased for one week – it slowly brings closure to all that has been left open yet buried for years. At times sad, at times funny – this deeply touching documentary is an ode to the strength of family and love. Played all over the world showing the importance of family and community in dealing with the various stages of personal grief, it is also taught in psychology and anthropology courses internationally. 

From the director’s film diary:

“Mom died this morning. I have always craved her hugs and her approval, but it did not happen. The film begins right after the funeral of my mother, Ziona. We sit Shivah at my parents’ home. My parents represented the melting pot of Tel Aviv: a Sabra and a Berliner physician, who barely escaped the Nazis in 1933. Suddenly, my sister Nurit, my brother Micha, and I, Yael, are orphans. I ask my son, Dan, to document the Shiva and beg him to be gentle and unobtrusive, but that is not his filming style.”


Washington Jewish Film Festival: Program (pdf)