Beautiful Music

The relationship between a teacher and student-an Orthodox Jewish woman and a blind, autistic Palestinian girl. Devorah Schramm, an American born pianist and composer, relocated to Israel with her family in 1975. A devoutly religious woman, she and her husband Lenn moved to Gilo, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. She began teaching piano, privately at home and at the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music. One day in 1987, the Conservatory's director called her into her office. Sitting there were Helene and Edward Vollbehr, Dutch Christian missionaries from Beit Jallah, a suburb of Bethlehem, and a 9 year old blind and severely autistic Palestinian girl, Rasha Hamid. Rasha, according to her caretakers, showed a tremendous facility for the piano and it was beyond their capabilities to teach her. Devorah had become well known for taking on students with various learning disabilities but she had never encountered a musical savant like Rasha. And with tensions at an all time high between Israelis and Palestinians with the onset of the first Intifada, she was hesitant about bringing a Palestinian into her home. But after witnessing the natural musical talents and the need of this young child who had been abandoned by her family for a teacher, Devorah decided that she could not say no. For 18 years, at least twice a week, through two Intifadas and the ups and downs of the peace process, Devorah has been giving piano lessons to Rasha. Creating a special system that associates numbers with piano keys, Devorah has helped her become an accomplished pianist. Rasha is not only able to perform complicated musical pieces but she also creates her own original music. Several times a year, Rasha, along with the other students of the Jerusalem Conservatory, gives concerts-an amazing accomplishment for someone with her disabilities.

38 minutes
Richard Trank

Shown at

  1. 13th Annual Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival (Detroit) - 2011
  2. Honolulu Jewish Film Festival - 2017
  3. Monterey Peninsula Jewish International Film Festival - 2013

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