Intelligent Lives - A Documentary Film Program for JDAIM

Monday, February 24 at 2:00 P.M. Followed by discussion.

Falmouth Jewish Congregation invites the public to a free, public screening of the film Intelligent Lives on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 P.M. at the congregation’s Blanche & Joel D. Seifer Community Center at 7 Hatchville Road. This documentary film by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib, which documents the experience of several intellectually disabled people entering adulthood, helps our community to mark February’s designation as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month. Discussion follows the screening, at which refreshments will be served. All are welcome to this event, held at the congregation’s Blanche and Joel D. Seifer Community Center at 7 Hatchville Road in East Falmouth.


Director Dana Habib collaborated with husband and wife Chris Cooper and Marianne Leone, the film’s executive producers, to create this documentary to serve as a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America. “Disability is not always talked about as part of our natural diversity. Race, gender, sexual orientation … [are] all very important, but disability needs to be part of that communication,” noted Habib. “The world is full of people with disabilities; you need to be prepared for that.”  Intelligent Lives stars three diverse and pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. The film repeatedly asks the viewer to question assumptions and expectations regarding others’ potentials. One essential thread that runs throughout the film is its head-on challenge of IQ tests. In the film, Syracuse professor James Burn notes, “The IQ test measures a very limited potential of our brains to learn and misses all the other stuff—our sensibility to take context clues from their environment from other people, a person’s desires to engage with other people, and their openness to other relationships.

Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, while the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing record of intelligence testing in the United States. Intelligent Lives challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment, and intimate relationships. The film runs 70 minutes and a guided discussion will follow.

Falmouth Jewish Congregation, an inclusive, egalitarian Reform congregation serving the Upper Cape and beyond, is located at 7 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth and is accessible and welcoming to all. For further information, please visit the website at, visit our Facebook page, or call 508-540-0602. Learn more about Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month at