Second JDC Archives Documentary Film Grant Awarded

The Lost Crown explores the mystery surrounding the Aleppo Codex, the world’s oldest copy of the bible in Hebrew

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced today that The Lost Crown, produced by Judith Manassen-Ramon and directed by Avi Dabach, was awarded its second annual JDC Archives Documentary Film Grant. The film explores the mystery surrounding the lost pages of the Aleppo Codex – known as the “Crown,” the world’s oldest copy of the Bible in Hebrew – on its journey from Syria to Israel. It will have its global premiere on November 20th at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and it will be screened at the Miami Jewish Film Festival in January 2019.

The JDC Archives Documentary Film Grant awards $10,000 each year towards post-production and/or distribution costs of a documentary film that utilizes JDC’s archival collection and focuses on topics including 20th-century Jewish communities, humanitarian assistance, etc.

“A documentary of this kind offers the rare opportunity to give new life to old documents, characters, and crucial facts that could be lost to history and we feel privileged that JDC, itself part of the fabric of Jewish history, has recognized this in their support of our work,” said Mr. Dabach and Ms. Manassen-Ramon. “Our six years of research and encounters with people around the globe fascinated by the Codex demonstrated its overwhelming significance to people of faith and the wider public. We are also thrilled to shed new light on the Jewish community of Aleppo, one of the most fascinating, prosperous, and well respected Jewish communities in history.”

Ms. Manassen-Ramon is a producer and researcher who specializes in portraying personal and social trauma in film. She produced Dolphin Boy, which was shown in cinemas across North America. The Lost Crown resonates on a personal level for Mr. Dabach as his great-grandfather was the caretaker of the Aleppo synagogue and guarded the scripture until 1927. Mr. Dabach is a director, writer, and curator who has directed over 20 short films and videos throughout his career.

Twenty-one films were submitted for consideration for the 2018 JDC Archives Documentary Film Grant from filmmakers in seven countries, including the U.S., Canada, Israel, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Argentina. Film topics covered WWII and the Holocaust, Israel, global genocides, far-flung Jewish communities, and personal family histories.