Panel discussion with co-directors Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky; Ayala Fader, professor, Fordham University, author of Mitzvah Girls and Hidden Heretics; film interviewees Marcus Allison, former environmental researcher; Pearl Gluck, filmmaker and professor, Penn State; and Rabbi Mayer Schiller.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this groundbreaking documentary was among the first American films to offer a full, distinctive, inside look at the traditional Eastern European Jewish communities that found their most vital enclaves in America after mass migrations post–World War II. Taking an analytical and highly informative approach to its subject, Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky’s film—which premiered at the New York Jewish Film Festival in January 1997—looks at the rituals, beliefs, challenges, and daily lives of Hasidic Jews in New York City. Narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker and Leonard Nimoy and featuring a score by klezmer musician and composer Yale Strom, A Life Apart presents a plurality of voices to paint a complex and lively picture of a people who had to struggle to establish their community amid ignorance and anti-Semitism.