There’s an evangelical strand of Hasidic Judaism — Chabad-Lubavitch — spreading across the world. The Rabbi Goes West focuses on one Chabad rabbi, 34-year-old Chaim Bruk, who moved from Brooklyn to unlikely Bozeman, Montana, to bring his brand of Judaism to the American West. Part of his Chabad mission is to place a mezuzah, an encased prayer offering, on the doorpost of every Montana Jew. That’s less than 2,000 families spread across a state fourteen times larger than Israel.
As he travels across this “big sky” landscape, Chaim confronts a terrifying neo-Nazi threat. He also faces objections to his proselytizing from some skeptical Jews and the state’s rabbis, both Reform and Conservative. While they acknowledge that he is beloved by his congregants, they fear his larger goal to put up Chabad centers everywhere in Montana. Will Chaim succeed in his Chabad expansion, and at what cost? In English. Not Rated. Directors: Amy Geller, Gerald Peary (US 2019) 73 min.