Audience Favorite - Winner of Six Film Awards!

A New Feature Documentary by Yari & Cary Wolinsky

$29.95 - Home Use DVD
$34.95 - Home Use Blu-ray
$295.00 - Classroom/Library DVD

$325.00 - Classroom/Library Blu-ray

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Tiered pricing for K-12 & public libraries available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

*Home use purchase cannot be used for classroom/ library use or for public performance.
*Classroom/ Library use purchase does not include public performance rights.
See ordering information & terms of use.

Watch the Trailer

Film website


Best Documentary, Audience Choice Award, New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival
Best Documentary Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Best Documentary Washington Jewish Film Festival
Best Documentary Audience Choice, Rutgers Jewish Film Festival
Audience Choice Award Jewish Arts Festival, Salt Lake City
Best Film Audience Award, Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

Select Screenings

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Canada w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, PA w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
National Center for Jewish Film Festival, Boston w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Timber Framers Guild with Washington & Lee University
Berlin Jewish Film Festival,
Berlin, Germany w/ Associate Producer Wiktoria Michalkiewicz
Maine Jewish Film Festival, Lewiston, ME
Berlin Jewish Film Festival, Potsdam, Germany
College of Charleston, SC
Laemmle Theaters Los Angeles, CA
Barcelona Jewish Film Festival, Spain
Portland Jewish Film Festival, OR w/ Historia Thomas Hubka, featured in the film
Appalachian State University Remembering the Holocaust Symposium
Berkshire Jewish Film Festival
, MA w/ Yari & Cary Wolinsky
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Limmud South Africa
Plimoth Plantation Cinema
, MA w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
San Diego Jewish Film Festival Kickoff Event, CA w/ Cary & Yari Wolinsky via Skype
Washington University in St. Louis at Temple Israel Boston w/ Rick & Laura Brown
Haifa International Film Festival, Israel
Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival, CA
SW Michigan Jewish Film Festival
Tucson Festival of Films
, AZ w/ Rick & Laura Brown
Cleveland Jewish Film Festival, OH w/ Rick & Laura Brown
Pickford Film Center Doctober Festival, Bellingham, WA
Temple Emanu-El, Providence, RI
Falmouth Jewish Congregation, MA
Temple Adath Yeshurun, NY
Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival, OK w/ Cary & Yari Wolinsky via Skype
Timber Framers Guild Conference, Coeur d'Alene, ID w/ Rick & Laura Brown
Vilna Shul, Boston, MA w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Thayer Academy, MA
Australia International Jewish Film Festival, Melbourne w/ Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Warsaw Jewish Film Festival, Poland
Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, NJ w/ Rick & Laura Brown Nov. 8, and Ariel Rosenblum
Tufts University w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Limmud Stockholm Stockholm, Sweden
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York w/ Cary Wolinsky, Irene Pletka & Ariel Rosenblum
Salt Lake City Jewish Arts Festival, UT w/ David Kaplan (Crew member)
Calgary Jewish Film Festival, Canada
Houston Jewish Book and Arts Fair, TX
Haverford Yiddish Culture Festival, PA
Congregation Beth David, RI w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, Canada
Willson Center for the Arts University of Georgia w/ Rick & Laura Brown
UK Jewish Film Festival, London
Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA w/ Cary Wolinsky and Rick & Laura Brown
Long Beach Jewish Film Festival, CA
Yiddish Book Center, MA w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky
One World Film Festival/ Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, FL
Naples Jewish Film Festival, FL
East Bay Jewish Film Festival, CA
Worcester JCC, MA
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Osher Marin JCC, CA
Ventura County Jewish Film Festival, CA
Taube Institute, CA w/ Rick & Laura Brown
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
Boulder Film Festival
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival/ Marin JCC - Best of Fest Series
Furman University
Tucson International Jewish Film Festival
Denver Jewish Film Festival
Polish Cultural Institute and Polish Embassy, London) with special guest Antony Polonsky
Spertus Institute Chicago
Farthest North Jewish Film Festival
Furth Jewish Film Festival (Germany) / Babylon Kino
Houston Jewish Film Festival
Film Society of Summit, NJ
Palm Springs Art Museum
Fairleigh Dickinson University
New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival
Washington Jewish Film Festival (w/ Rick & Laura Brown and Cary & Yari Wolinsky)
Cherry Hill Jewish Film Festival
Detroit Jewish Film Festival
Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Arizona Jewish Historical Society
Annapolis Film Festival
Westchester Jewish Film Festival/ Jacob Burns Film Center
Massachusetts College of Art
Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival
Grandin Theate
Roanoke, VA
UC Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies

3rd International Polish Jewish Studies Workshop, University of Illinois (w/ Rick & Laura Brown)
The Nantucket Preservation Trust
Congregation Beth Elohim (Yom HaShoah Remembrance)
Action, MA
JFilm Festival
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland State University
Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival

Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center Moscow
Wilmington Jewish Film Festival
Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, NY
JCC in Sherman Sherman, CT
St. Louis Jewish Film Festival

Schenectady Jewish Film Festival
Toronto Ashkenaz Festival
Saint John Jewish Film Festival
Seattle Polish Film Festival

Southampton Film Festival
Festival de Cinema Judaico

Stowe Jewish Film Festival w/Cary & Yari Wolinsky

Raise the Roof

"How often do you get a chance to reach deep into history and bring something back?" --Rick Brown

Inspired by images of the magnificent wooden synagogues of 18th century Poland--the last of which were destroyed by the Nazis--artists Rick & Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio set out to reconstruct a replica of the stunning, mural-covered Gwozdziec synagogue.

Working with a team of 300 artisans and students from around the world, using only period hand tools and techniques, the Browns finally realized their dream. In 2014, the show-stopping reconstruction of the Gwozdziec synagogue roof was unveiled as the
centerpiece of the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw.

Filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky's beautifully photographed and rendered film Raise the Roof, tells the story of this remarkable 10 year project against the backdrop of the 1000 year history of Jews in Poland.


Press about the project

Scholars Weigh In

"(The Gwozdziec reconstruction) is a majestic jewel box of a sanctuary, a reminder that the world of the shtetl was not simply a domain of poverty and despair but also a thing of beauty."
--The New Republic | Full Article

“'Resplendent' is an apt description for the synagogue interior, which is covered from floor to ceiling with snippets of Hebrew liturgy, zodiac signs, messianic symbols, and a fabulous array of animals, both real and mythological, all in vibrant, living color. Reproductions of this interior, in fact, are the first thing you see when you enter the terminal at Warsaw International Airport, and they were reproduced all around Warsaw the week I was there. One might compare the Gwozdziec reproduction to the Globe Theatre, lovingly restored in present-day London"
--POLIN: A Light Unto the Nations by David G. Roskies, Jewish Review of Books | Full Article

"What a spectacular tribute to a vanished and now partially recovered world."
--Deborah Lipstadt, Historian & Author

"The image of Polish Jews known only from black and white photographs, too often an image of poverty, piety, and persecution, recedes and a vibrant world in living color, a world rich in imagination and spirit, takes its place."
--Barbara Kishenblatt-Gimblett, NYU & Museum of the History of Polish Jews

"A wonderful film."
--Antony Polonsky, Historian, Author & Founder, Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, Oxford and American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies

"Here's an extraordinary venture: a multiyear, multinational endeavor to re-erect a grand wooden Polish synagogue that rivals the greatest wooden architecture anywhere in the world."
--Matthew Bernstein, Film Historian & Author

Press about the film
Young Artist Discusses Her Role in "Raise The Roof" of a Polish Synagogue - Cinema Arts Centre
-MyLITV (Long Island, New York) | Watch Video
Film captures recreation of great Polish shul
-New Jersey Jewish News | Full Article
"...a story of continuity and spirituality, inspiring documentary indeed."
-Cleveland Jewish News | Full Article
The intrepid couple who restored a gem of a Polish synagogue
-The Times of Israel | Full Article
Out of the Ashes a Synagogue is Reborn in Poland
-Arizona Jewish LIfe | Full Article
New film festival entry chronicles dramatic reconstruction of lost Polish synagogue
-Arizona Jewish Post | Full Article
‘Raise the Roof’ among highlights at Jewish Film Festival -San Francisco Examiner | Full Article
‘Raise the Roof’ brings lost history, and art, back to life | Full Article
Film tells of synagogue ceiling that builds bridge to the history of Polish Jews -Jewish Journal | Full Article
"The film reveals that this history is relevant today, a time when there is a resurgence of interest in Polish-Jewish history, including among younger generations of Poles," -Huffington Post | Full Article
"The film captures the dynamic learning process the the Browns inspire in their students, who, along with hewing logs, grinding paints and mastering medieval brushstrokes, becoming history detectives,"
-Atlanta Jewish Times | Full Article
"You appreciate the anxious second-guessing among the Browns and their tireless students, as they try to decipher water-damaged texts from the original photos — and puzzle over what colors and palette to use in painting the ceiling’s fantastic mythical animals. The uplifting documentary is an artistic, nondenominational embrace across the centuries." -Arts Atlanta | Full Article
"The best vengeance against evildoers is to restore some of the beauty that they thought they had destroyed forever." -Boston Globe | Full Article
Couple with Georgia ties raises a roof in Poland
-Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Full Article


USA, 2015, 83 min
A film by Yari & Cary Wolinsky

Press kit
A Trillium Studios production in association with John Rubin Productions, Inc.

Executive Producer John Rubin
Producer Cary Wolinsky
Director & Editor Yari Wolinsky
Written by Yari Wolinsky & Cary Wolinsky
Production Designer Barbara Wolinsky
Associate Producer Wiktoria Michalkiewicz
Featuring the music of Di Galitzyaner Klezmorim

About the Filmmakers

John Rubin |
Writer-producer-director John Rubin turned to documentaries after completing his Ph.D. at MIT in cognitive science. Winner of a Peabody Award and three Emmys, Rubin is President of John Rubin Productions, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, USA. Rubin has made films for the PBS series Nature, American Experience, and Nova and National Geographic Explorer.  Rubin is currently an Executive Producer for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Cary Wolinsky |
Cary Wolinsky began working as a photojournalist for the Boston Globe in 1968 while completing a degree in journalism at Boston University's School of Communications. Wolinsky is known for his international, historical, scientific and cultural photographic essays published regularly in National Geographic magazine since 1977. His numerous stories include: Sichuan: Where China Changes Course, Inside the Kremlin, Australia A Harsh Awakening, New Eyes on the Oceans, Diamonds - The Real Story, and The Down Side of Being Upright. Wolinsky's articles and photographs have been printed in publications throughout the world. In 2006, he began collaborating with his son, Yari Wolinsky, to produce documentary films.

Yari Wolinsky |
After graduating from Bard College in 2004, Yari Wolinsky worked for John Rubin Productions, Inc. on three one-hour, PBS documentary films: Raptor Force, The Living Weapon, and Ape Genius. He has worked as director and editor on narrative and documentary films for educational, editorial, nonprofit, and commercial clients that include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, National Geographic, PBS, AARP, Issey Miyake, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers, Life is Good, and Marriott Hotels. Wolinsky began documenting the Browns efforts to rebuild a Polish wooden synagogue in 2007.

Subject Areas

Art & Architecture
The Holocaust


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