RABBI BEREL WEIN
Rabbi Berel Wein, the founder and director of the Destiny Foundation since 1996, has, for over 25 years, been identified with the popularization of Jewish history through his more than 1,000 lectures heard world-wide on CD and now as downloadable MP3s, his 15 books, history courses, educational tours and, most recently, dramatic and documentary films.
Rabbi Wein is a graduate of the Hebrew Theological College and Roosevelt College in Chicago. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from De Paul University Law School and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Theological College.
Rabbi Wein was a practicing lawyer for a number of years and in 1964 assumed the pulpit of the Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach, Florida, where he remained until 1972. In 1973 he became the Rabbi of Congregation Bais Torah in Suffern, New York and remained in that position for 24 years. He was then appointed Executive Vice President of the Union of Orthodox Organizations of America and was Rabbinic Administrator of the Kashrus Division for five years after that.
In 1977 he founded Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Suffern, New York and remained its Rosh Hayeshiva until 1997. Rabbi Wein’s book of halachic essays, Chikrei Halacha was published by Mosad Harav Kook in 1976 and Eyunim B’M’sechtoth Hatalmud was published in 1989.
Rabbi Wein has authored four Jewish history books – Triumph of Survival, The Story of the Jews in the Modern Era; Herald of Destiny, the Medieval Era; Echoes of Glory, the Classical Era and Faith and Fate, the story of the Jews in the Twentieth Century – all of which have received popular and critical acclaim.
Rabbi Wein also authors and edits a monthly newsletter – The Wein Press – a source of information and inspiration on topics of Jewish interest. He also pens a weekly column for The Jerusalem Post.
Currently, The Destiny Foundation is in the process of translating Rabbi Wein’s riveting accounts of Jewish history into a series of films on Jewish personalities – the first, entitled Rashi-A Light After The Dark Ages, was released in 2000, and Rambam/The Story of Maimonides had its premiere in New York, in November 2004. Currently in production, The Destiny Foundation is preparing a 10-part documentary series, based on Rabbi Wein’s history of the Jews in the twentieth century, Faith & Fate.
Rabbi Wein is a member of the Illinois Bar Association and is the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award from the Covenant Foundation/1993. Most recently Rabbi Wein received the Torah Prize Award from Machon Harav Frank in Jerusalem for his achievements in teaching Torah and spreading Judaism around the world. Rabbi Wein lives and teaches in Jerusalem.
The Destiny Foundation
Destiny is an Educational Media Foundation dedicated to bringing Jewish history to life in an exciting and interactive way. Our films and multi-media programming are designed to educate, inspire, inform and instill a sense of pride and purpose in being Jewish - and to demonstrate how each and every Jew fits into the big picture of Jewish history.
In addition to the over 1,000,000 audio lectures by Rabbi Wein on Jewish history that have been distributed world-wide, other innovative initiatives include the Faith and Fate documentary series and the Heralds of Destiny animated film series. Each of the educational films is produced with a comprehensive Educators’ Guide. Destiny is changing the way history is experienced and learned. Destiny’s media tools give today’s new generation of Jews innovative ways to explore and define their identity and destiny.
-To support educational outreach in order to strengthen and reinforce Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish continuity and Israel.
-To produce effective and ongoing films and multi-media educational materials for use in the home, classroom and in Jewish communities
-To offer training and ongoing support to teachers and program coordinators.
Why is Jewish history Important?
Jewish history is destiny. Our past influences our future – as history is the map that guides us to our destination. Understanding how each individual is an essential part of the chain of Jewish history creates a unique and critical link in the continuity of our people.
“Jewish history is our teacher…it is our rear view mirror. If you don’t know where you come from – how do you know where you are going? It is one of the most valuable tools for understanding and dealing with today’s world.” - Berel Wein
FILM SERIES: HERALDS OF DESTINY
The pilot for the film series Heralds of Destiny, Rashi—a Light After the Dark Ages received critical acclaim and was further developed as a multi-media project. This animated, one-hour film, shown to a viewing audience of 450,000 on Israeli Television (Channel Two-Tel Ad) in the fall of 2000, has been featured in venues across the globe. Future airings and select showing in communities the world over expose a diverse Jewish audience to the life and work of our history’s greatest explicator of Jewish law and literature.
Destiny has also created Rashi study guides for both the North American day school and Israeli secular school curriculums. The Israeli Ministry of Education divided the existing film into shorter segments to be used with commentary from the study guides. A Hebrew-dubbed version in a DVD/CD format includes reference and source materials, interactive programs, three 20-minute TV classes, the film, text, the study guide, and lessons on how to learn Rashi script.
One of the goals of the Heralds of Destiny series is to highlight Judaism’s most compelling heroes. The second entry in the series, a one-hour animated film in a watercolor style similar to Rashi, is the biography of Maimonides, the Rambam. This towering figure made his mark at a turbulent moment in history: with the Almohad revolution in Spain, the Third Crusade, and Saladin’s victory over Richard the Lionhearted. Maimonides’ enduring scholarship, his contributions to general medicine and medieval philosophy, and his struggles with his personal and philosophical opponents are the stuff of true Jewish heroism.
But not all heroes are so well known. Dona Gracia Beatrice Mendes, the subject of another of the Heralds of Destiny series, is our Queen Esther of the Middle Ages. Originally baptized as a Catholic, Mendes escaped the Inquisition in Portugal and rose to become the first international banker and confidant of royalty—all the while retaining her Jewish identity and observance. She purchased the city of Tiberias from the Ottoman Sultan and in the sixteenth century encouraged a wave Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Long before Montefiore and Rothschild, Mendes is the prototype of the loyal Jew who played a sweeping role on the world stage. This will be done in a documentary and live action format.
The three other features proposed for this film series are Don Isaac Abarbanel and the Spanish Expulsion, to be similarly animated, Sir Moses Montefiore and the rise of the Western Jewish world (documentary and live action), and S.Y. Agnon, the Israeli Nobel Laureate for Literature and the rise of Israel after the Holocaust (documentary and live action).
TELEVISION MINI SERIES: TRIUMPH OF SURVIVAL
Based on the research and writings of Berel Wein, Triumph of Survival is a 26-hour, 13-part documentary series that tells the story of the Jews.
Triumph of Survival opens with a ten-hour series called Fate and Faith/The Story of the Jewish People in the Twentieth Century, which documents the story of survival in the modern era. As it explores the heady conflicts between religion and secularism, Fate and Faith takes viewers through the momentous and almost unbelievable events that swept the Jewish people into the present day. In the often moving and frightening series of events, the history of the Jewish people serves to both inspire and challenge – and offers viewers a vivid portrait of their glorious heritage.
Berel Wein and The Destiny Foundation are about to harness the telecommunications revolution to create products that educate and inspire. Our goal is to reach Jews who may be so unaware of their past that they’re quite unprepared to face the spiritual challenges of modern life. We’re using high-quality media products to speak to modern Jews in a modern language—and to exert a compelling influence on future generations.