My Dear Children

The quest to unravel a family mystery reveals a forgotten Jewish tragedy

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Faith, family and tragedy

The history of pogroms following the Russian Revolution

A story of Jewish faith, family, and a tragedy that reverberated for generations. The pogroms in the years following the Russian Revolution of 1917 killed tens of thousands of Jews and marked the beginning of the near-obliteration of Jewish life from an area of the world to which nearly 80% of the world's Jewry can trace its roots.  Feiga Shamis, a Jewish mother of 12, wrote about those years in a rare first-hand account.  What happened drove her to make a choice no mother should ever have to make.  But it was a choice that ensured the survival of two of her children. Decades later, Feiga's granddaughter, Judy Favish, set out from South Africa for Poland and Ukraine to try to understand the grandmother she never met, the choice Feiga made, and her father who would never talk about his past.


“I’m really excited about My Dear Children and the kind of complex issues that it’s bringing to a very wide audience, and, I think, presenting them in a very sensitive way that people will understand and be touched by.”

Nathan Meir, Portland State University

The Filmmakers


LeeAnn Dance


LeeAnn Dance is an award winning investigative reporter and documentary producer. Feiga’s sacrifice has had a deeply personal impact on her life.

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Cliff Hackel


Cliff Hackel has more than 25 years of award winning documentary experience. Like many Jews, he, too, can trace his roots to the former Pale of Settlement.

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