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Praying With Lior (DVD Review)

15 Feb, 2009 By: Kurt Wohlman

praying with lior

Prebook 2/17/09; Street 3/24/09
First Run
Box Office $0.08 million
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.

It is rare that we encounter an individual who reminds us of the innocence of our childhood and the importance of faith and the human spirit. Meet Lior Liebling, an energetic young boy with Down Syndrome.

We are first introduced to Lior as an infant in video footage with his mother, Rabbi Devora Bartnoff, who is dealing with breast cancer. She writes an article for The Jewish Exponent about Lior’s love of praying, hence the inspiration for this documentary.

Rabbi Devora comments on what a wonderful Bar Mitzvah Lior will have, but sadly won’t be around to see it.

Fast-forward 12 years later, when a teenage Lior is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah under the tutelage of his devoted father, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling. We get the chance to meet Lior’s brother and two sisters and see the special bond he shares with them, as well as his stepmother, Lynne, who offers loving support.

It’s clear that Lior’s mother is always in his heart, and we see this in more videotaped flashbacks as well as a touching graveside visit.

Once the big day arrives, Lior performs his Bar Mitzvah with flying colors, and there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Praying With Lior is an encouragement to all who see it. We learn that those we’ve lost are still with us in spirit, and that we can overcome any obstacles that may be in front of us. It’s a great lesson from an inspirational boy.

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