Carrying the Light
In October 2010, rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of the London Masorti community left his family home in Finchley to embark upon a symbolic and spiritual journey. Traveling from Germany to England on foot, Jonathan begins walking from the Westend Synagogue in Frankfurt where his grandfather served as rabbi prior to World War II. Miraculously, during the events of Kristallnacht in 1938 the eternal light, the ner tamid, within the Westend Synagogue remained lit, burning through the night. Inspired by the endurance of this light through dark times, Jonathan sets out on a pilgrimage; joined by his energetic border collie Mitzpah, he carries the flame of the Westend ner tamid to his newly built London synagogue. As Jonathan and Mitzpah cover the many miles of forests, lakes and vineyards, friends old and new join them for stretches of the journey. With the company of each traveler, Jonathan explores matters of faith, politics, and memory, illuminating his personal and spiritual ethos as he passes through picturesque German Rhineland. Like fragments of light gathered to constitute a flame, these slivers of thought and experience remain with Jonathan as seeds in his consciousness, growing in complexity along the winding trail. From a consideration of German-Jewish relations, to Israel and Palestine, to the essence of God, Jonathan engages with challenging topics as he crosses boundaries and borders. Carrying the Light follows this unconventional rabbi as he reflects on Jewish and humanistic values in the 21st Century, taking an extraordinary walk with his dog along the river Rhine to the sea.