"This movie should be shown in every Jewish High School in the country."
Leo Marcus, former head of Canada's UJA and United Israel Appeal.
A fascinating story about a man who played a major role in the formative years of modern Israel
Howard Price,, Co-chairman Israel Action Committee, Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue, Toronto
Historical documentaries are rarely engaging. "Building a Country" is a precious exception. What it lacks in historical comprehensiveness it gains in recounting the devotion of one man.
Prof. Yossi Katz, Historical Geography, Bar-Ilan University, Israel and Visiting Lecturer, Centre of Jewish Studies, York University (2010-2011
Other comments include:
We often fall into the trap of reducing history to facts and figures. Mickey and Alan have done an excellent job reminding us that history is comprised of real people. Beyond that too, they leave us with a challenge.
Highly engaging! "Building a Country" is the very personal story of one man whose life was intimately intertwined with the history of an entire country.
Film Credits: The Story of Arie Lewin
Produced and Narrated by Mickey Lewin
"Arie hoped to inspire others to continue the task by tape-recording his story before he died. That's why I made this movie."
Mickey's father, Arie, was only 15 years old when he left Nazi Germany for Palestine in 1938. Gerda, his mother, was only 11 years old when she ventured to Palestine in 1938.
Mickey's father dedicated his entire life to the state of Israel. Both parents instilled many important values in Mickey including the strong love for Israel.
Born in Haifa, Israel in 1957, Mickey became involved with music and entertainment as a teenager.
In 1979, after serving in a combat unit in the Israel Defence Forces, Mickey moved to Canada and continued his career in music production and entertainment. Mickey visits Israel frequently and keeps close contact with his family and friends. His company, The Ultimate Sound Productions, is involved in the music entertainment industry in Canada and Israel.
Mickey married his wife, Francine in 1983 and they live in Thornhill, Ontario with three beautiful daughters; Tamar, Tali and Naomi.
Written and Directed by Alan Cohen
Why was this story so important?
It has been my privilege to portray the lives of people and create legacies typically to be passed along to relatives, children, grandchildren and perhaps generations to come. This particular story was more than a privilege. It was an obligation. I never met Arie Lewin but from his son, his daughter, his wife and his own recordings, I came to know him and feel the responsibility of passing on his challenge. Arie's raison d'être was and is the raison d'être of the State of Israel. The two are intimately intertwined and intermingled and, by portraying a person, I have been able to bring a history to life, to give it a real face. It took more than a year for Mickey and me to compile and present this story. And if you are inspired half as much as I was, it will have been worth every minute. -- Alan Cohen
Alan's career has taken him in some very different directions--social work on one side, computer development on the other. Add in an interest in photography and the result is a rather strange mixture. But it was the right mixture. Alan chose to "retire" because his professional activities were getting in the way of what he really wanted to do--tell stories.
Since 2001 Alan has met some interesting people. They had stories to tell.--stories that needed to be told. Alan's challenge, How to put those stories on film? Sometimes the story needs to be told to children and grandchildren. Sometimes the story needs to be told to the world.
You've heard the expression: "If a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody there, did it make any sound?" Well, Alan think it's important to make a sound and hold onto its echo.
Alan Cohen has been an active volunteer at Baycrest in Toronto, Ontario, for nearly nine years. When his mother- in-law was at Baycrest Hospital, he and his wife Helen would visit her every day, since they live so close by. They became so impressed with Baycrest that they each became volunteers. After she passed away, they felt so attached to Baycrest that they continued. Sometimes coming several times a week, Alan has logged over 2,500 volunteer hours.
Copyright 2011 by Alan Cohen and Mickey Lewin. All rights reserved.