Welcome to the Waks Family

And you think <I>your</I> family is complicated! Zephania and Haya Waks have had 17 children in only 22 years of marriage. Their membership in the Orthodox Lubavitch sect only sets them further apart, as the religion's strict dietary laws and social codes keep everyone busy with obligations.

With: Zephania and Haya Waks.

And you think your family is complicated! Zephania and Haya Waks have had 17 children in only 22 years of marriage, making them purportedly the largest non-blended family in Australia. Their membership in the Orthodox Lubavitch sect only sets them further apart, as the religion’s strict dietary laws (five kitchens) and social codes (no TV or pop music) keep everyone busy with obligations — not to mention weddings and bar-mitzvahs. Pic can be crammed nicely into even the most mainstream broadcasting berths worldwide.

“Everywhere there’s Coca-Cola, there are Lubavitchers,” says the Waks’ gray-bearded patriarch about his family’s widespread ties. Indeed, helmer Barbara Chobocky takes five years to keep up with their globetrotting ways, which include frequent trips to New York and Israel (where the oldest, and only non-practicing son is in the army). This worldly devotion to sect and clan belies Zephania’s earlier life as a Sydney surf bum, as well as Haya’s cloistered childhood with her Yemeni parents. Only thing fascinating pic doesn’t answer is how they pay for all that travel.

Welcome to the Waks Family


Production: A Film Australia (Sydney) production, in association with SBS Independent. Produced by Barbara Chobocky, Rod Freedman. Executive producer, Franco di Chiera. Directed, edited by Barbara Chobocky. Written by Chobocky, Jeff Bruer.

Crew: Camera (color, BetaSP), Chobocky. Reviewed at Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, May 20, 2003. Running time: 58 MIN.

With: With: Zephania and Haya Waks.

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