Student’s video entry focuses on Jerusalem

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Eliana Lebson, a junior at Berman Academy, tells the story of Jerusalem in her video contest entry.
Photo by Ezra Einhorn and Casey Fuller

When you’re covering 3,000 years of history in a short video, you have to get down to the essentials. Eliana Lebson told the story of Jerusalem in a breath more than a minute and a half, and still had enough time to talk about its future.

“The Story of Jerusalem” was the Berman Academy junior’s entry in the Israel Video Network’s Inspired by Israel contest. Sponsored by the Milstein Family Foundation in partnership with the 12Tribe Films Foundation, the contest is judged online by viewer votes. Voting is closed for the 80 individuals and groups that entered the contest. Winners will be announced later this month.


Eliana entered the contest for the first time last year. “I focused on how Israel is inspiring,” says the Silver Spring resident.

This year she wanted to narrow her focus. “When I think of Israel, the first thing I think of is the Kotel.”

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And she went from there. With no narration — “I wanted to tell a story with pictures” — Eliana uses Google maps to sweep the viewer across continents and to Jerusalem, zooming in on the Kotel (the Western Wall) and the Temple Mount as they are today. Then she steps into the past with images of a model of Herod’s temple. The Romans destroyed the real one in the year 70.

The image dissolves to footage of people dancing. That’s the future.


“The Mashiach [messiah] will come and we’ll all be celebrating,” Eliana says of the future she envisions. The footage is from the wedding of Eliana’s parents.

Singing couple and internet sensation Yonina provided the soundtrack, a reggae-inflected “If I forget thee O Jerusalem.” “I messaged her to get permission to use it and she said yes,” Eliana says of Nina Tokayer, the duo’s female half.

“I also talked to Matisyahu” about one of his songs, she adds. “He said yes, but I ended up not using him.”

What do you expect in a minute and a half?

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