Director’s Message


I’m Michael Robert Wolf, writer-director of The Sound of the Spirit. When I began working on the film, it was my desire to tell a story that has never been told before- that of a Messianic Jewish girl’s experience in the midst of a traditional Jewish setting. I hope you enjoyed the movie. Although it’s not based on one specific person’s experience, my own history did inform the shaping of the script.

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My father was born in Lithuania, the youngest of eight children in a traditional Orthodox Jewish family. When he was four, his father died and the family moved to Riga, Latvia. Due to the persecution of Jews during World War One, the family was determined to come to America. My father arrived in Philadelphia, along with his mother Miriam (whom I’m named after), in 1924 when he was 12 years old. The family was very poor, and when the depression came they became even poorer. My father learned how to fix watches from his oldest brother, a pre-curser to his involvement in the jewelry business years later, as well as a period in the machine shop business during World War Two.

Almost all of the extended family that stayed in Riga perished in the Holocaust. My father had been extremely close with them as a child, and this embittered him. After the war he threw himself into business. Extremely proud to be a Jew and a strong Zionist, he nevertheless developed a somewhat agnostic perspective about G-d. Though I was raised with a strong Jewish identity and was given a top-notch Jewish education, I developed similar perspectives. My mother, the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, had a simple faith in G-d and enjoyed the observances she practiced. I used to wonder if there was anything after this life, and her answer (that I would live as a good memory in the minds of others) proved unsatisfactory. In fact, I developed a kind of vertigo fear whenever I thought about eternity.

In my later teen years, I met a Jewish couple that believed Jesus was the Messiah. I was going with a girl whom I had met at a Jewish day school we had both attended as children. Their message of spiritual intimacy intrigued me, though I was skeptical about it. It wasn’t until several months later, after the girl (now my wife of almost forty years) moved to another town to attend a college there, that I began to seriously consider the things that were shared with me by that couple.

One night I took a Bible out of my sister’s room (she was at college at the time) and asked G-d to show me a place that talked about the Messiah. I opened it “by chance” to the passage that “Yosi Cohen”, the anti-missionary in the movie, mentions…Isaiah 53. He interprets it as some rabbis over the last thousand years have (that it refers to Israel’s suffering at the hands of the nations) but also mentions the older interpretation (that it refers to a messiah suffering for the sins of Israel and the nations). In his realistic portrayal, he dismisses the latter interpretation. But I knew instantly that it was the right one, especially when a divine presence entered the room and revealed both my spiritual need and His love, speaking specifically to me from the sixth verse, “All we like sheep have gone astray and turned to our own way. And the L-rd has laid on him the sin of us all”.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt different inside before I remembered that I had asked the Messiah to enter my life and transform it. Over the years, my life has been quite an adventure. Like Rivka in the film, I have experienced both misunderstanding and kindness from Jewish family and friends. My parents were alarmed at first, but like Uncle Sidney they eventually recognized the sincere genuine Jewish faith that my wife and I practiced.

About seven years after that fateful night, I began leading a Messianic synagogue. I have been leading that same congregation for over thirty-five years. And I have enjoyed writing, mostly on Mondays, my day off.