Do We Remember The Colleyville Saga? – Film Review

It is clear that the slogan ‘Never Again’ – meaning that never again will humanity repeat the events that led to the Holocaust and the Holocaust that ensued – has failed. Colleyville is another one of those “never again” events that has slipped under the radar of most people.

The again viciously took place on October 7, 2023 when Jews were slaughtered wholesale in Israel.

The attacks on Jews in the United States and elsewhere occur way too often as if they are acceptable, normalized, a routine.

colleyville poster
Colleyville poster

I did not remember the Colleyville hostage case. I therefore sat at the movie theater expecting a fiction story film. But no, “Colleyville,” by Award-Winning filmmaker Dani Mankin of Hey Jude Productions, is an exceptional non-fiction, documentary reality check, that relives the January 15, 2022 hostage situation.

The “Colleyville” intense drama, premiered in North America by the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF), Hilary Helstein, Executive Director, took place at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, in Colleyville, a small town near the Dallas-Fort-Worth metropolitan area. It tells the horror story of a small Jewish congregation’s hours-long hostage ordeal.

Hilary Helstein, Executive Director Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) opens the screening evening-Photo Nurit Greenger
Hilary Helstein, Executive Director Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) opens the screening evening-Photo Nurit Greenger

The main hostages “characters” are Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, Jeffrey R Cohen, Shane Woodward and Larry Schwartz.

The hostages’ situation maker is Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British-Pakistani, armed with a pistol who threatened to have two bombs ready to blow up. He took the four men hostage inside the synagogue to where they arrived that morning for the Shabbat Morning Prayer.

These four innocent men of faith went through hours of traumatic and of unpredictable outcome event; they were held hostage for 11-hour inside their house of faith in an intense standoff, and the film “Colleyville” is highlighting well their resilience and composed courage demeanor.

“Colleyville,” featuring never-before-seen footage, is giving the viewer an unprecedented detailing look at this gripping real-life drama that captivated the attention of the White House, the Prime Minister of Israel office and the world at large.

During Q&A, director Dani Mankin on stage to the left; on screen top right: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker; left: Jeffrey R Cohen; bottom: Shane Woodward -photo Nurit Greenger
During Q&A, director Dani Mankin on stage to the left; on screen top right: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker; left: Jeffrey R Cohen; bottom: Shane Woodward -photo Nurit Greenger

Too Many Reminders

After the October 7, 2023 gruesome Hamas terrorist attack on innocent Israelis “Colleyville,” has a much deeper and wider meaning that is calling on the world to focus on and pay attention to.

The Colleyville hostage ordeal which took place in 2022 has wider implications. In a small way it is now mirroring not only the horrors of October 7 in Israel but also the June 23, 2023 pogrom that took place in Los Angeles. In this also hours-long hate-filled event against Jews, Hamas-supporters appeared in the Pico Jewish neighborhood and ambushed the entrance to Adas Torah synagogues where they applied violence against Jews who wanted to enter their house of prayer.

Though the Colleyville terror saga had a better ending, with the terrorist dead and the four hostages rescued unharmed, this is not the way other such events may end.

Colleyville in the movie theatre.
Colleyville in the movie theatre.

Composed, Loving Characters

The composed and loving nature of the characters, even adding some humor while fearing for their life, which they interjected during hard times, acted well in their favor.

A scene from the film - screenshot
A scene from the film – screenshot

“I love death more than you love life” the perpetrator Malik Faisal Akram kept on shouting throughout his hostage-taking act. This is a slogan often heard from terrorists, mainly Muslims, who are after Jewish blood.

Former Israel Prime Minister late Golda Meir once said: “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

For Jews life is very sacred. For Jews life and saving life is a higher power command. When Jew-haters, the likes of Malik Faisal Akram, will love life more than they hate Jews, this equation will hopefully tilt towards a positive change.

Colleyville Release is Timely

With the rise of antisemitism and hatred directed at Jews the movie “Colleyville” is timely, its story that really happened must be re-told.

The documentary “Colleyville” is its director Dani Mankin’s important and impactful work. As a viewer, I am feel it is also both impactful and enjoyable for the audience, reflecting past, present and future other such event possibilities.

Jeffrey Abrams, Director of ADL'S Los Angeles Regional Office addressed the audience-Photo Nurit Greenger
Jeffrey Abrams, Director of ADL’S Los Angeles Regional Office addressed the audience-Photo Nurit Greenger

Be Alert, Be Ready, Be Active

At the premier showcasing of “Colleyville” Jeffrey Abrams, Director of ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League International Jewish non-governmental organization) Los Angeles Regional Office addressed the audience with one message: be alert, be ready and be active. Sitting on the sofa will not make you safer.

The testament is that Jews are being targeted.

There is no “post Never Again”; it is here again. It is now almost standard to threaten and attack Jews, take Jews hostage and go as far as to kill Jews.

After 2022 Colleyville, Texas, after October 7, 2023 in Israel after June 2024 in Los Angeles, California, where are the Jewish communities, where is America heading?

The poisonous epithets and slogans yelled on US streets, campuses and elsewhere will not remain just words. They will morph into actions the likes of what took place in the Colleyville synagogue and worse.

The world must now take Never Again to a significantly higher level.

Nurit Greenger
During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the "Accidental Reporter" felt compelled to become an activist. Being an 'out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a "one-woman Hasbarah army" for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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