Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival (2011)
The Sheba Film Festival (May 2010)
Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival (2010)
Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival (2010)
3 Stars Cinema, Dallas (2009)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2009)

Each year 10,000 orphans die in Ethiopia, Bewoket was one who survived -- with the help of Dr. Rick Hodes.

In 1990, Dr. Rick Hodes went to Ethiopia to set up a series of medical clinics. He never left. Almost 20 years later, “Dr. Rick” treats thousands of Ethiopians, among them a group of boys who live with him following life-saving surgery. Bewoket provides a rare look at Dr. Rick and his remarkable dedication to making life richer for some of the world’s most vulnerable children. His character is illuminated by the lives of the boys he helps: Bewoket and his affinity for American cars and his indestructible will to live, Sharif and his desperate prayer, and Abraham, an angelic child content to eat pizza.

Bewoket is a unique opportunity to visit the day to day life of a medical relief worker, an idealist—and powerhouse—who has devoted his life to the medical crisis in Africa.

Dr. Rick, an American internist and Orthodox Jew, typifies the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”). Through him, Judaism has transformative effects; far from his birthplace, Dr. Rick has established a unique and loving home—a family happily respectful of different faiths. One Friday evening captured in the film, Dr. Rick blesses his adopted children, Bewoket who is Christian and Sharif who is Muslim, as he puts on tefillin with one of the Jewish children. For all, God and faith sustain and motivate.

A note about the film’s title: Bewoket (which means “by the will of God”) is the name of Dr. Rick's adopted son, one of three Ethiopian boys profiled in the film.


After spending five years teaching medical school in Ethiopia on a Fulbright scholarship, Dr. Rick Hodes was hired as Director of the Joint Distribution Committee’s Medical Programs in Ethiopia in 1990. Within a year, he was the physician responsible for the 14,400 Ethiopians who were airlifted to Israel in Operation Solomon. Today, Dr. Rick manages JDC’s two medical clinics in Addis Abba and Gondar City, which care for 10,000 Falas Mura (Jews who were converted to Christianity, generations ago, under duress).

Dr. Rick supervises the clinics’ medical programs, which provide treatments, immunizations, pre and postnatal care, health education and family planning services, as well as nutritional assistance. In addition, Dr. Rick acts as an advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Health, and is the attending physician at the Mother Teresa Mission, where in the past year has started a cancer center and is treating patients for cancer. Dr. Rick is also supplying medicine for Hodgkin’s disease to the university hospital, so anyone who shows up with Hodgkin’s and cannot afford treatment can get it for free. In the late 1990’s Dr. Rick pioneered a program that sent Ethiopian children to America for free heart surgery.

The number of children he has single-handedly saved through surgery and providing shelter and education and ongoing medical care for is in the hundreds. Dr. Rick’s benevolence is contagious; many of the children he has helped have been fostered for several months and even adopted by American families.



Watch: CBC Canada television interview with Dr. Rick Hodes.

Read: Jew-ish Seattle feature articles on Bewoket filmmakers.


Home Use DVD:

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information

Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

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Bewoket: By the Will of God

USA, 2009, 66 minutes, color
English & Amharic with English subtitles
Directed by Andrea Mydlarz Zeller & Sam Shnider

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Public Exhibition formats: Beta, DVD





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