The need of fundamentalist groups within Judaism and Christianity to set rigid boundaries that exclude others has been the source of suffering and pain for millions of people around the world for centuries. This phenomenon is at the heart of Solomon and Gaenor, an English drama written and directed by Paul Morrison.
In a small Welsh village in 1911, Solomon (Ioan Gruffudd), a young Jewish peddler, meets Gaenor (Nia Roberts), the eldest daughter of a family of mineworkers. They are smitten with each other, and he makes her a dress in a shop run by his Orthodox Jewish father. Convinced that he will never be able to have a relationship with Gaenor if he reveals that he is Jewish, he pretends to be a Christian from across the valley. This proves to be a wise move since her family is strict Calvinist. In fact in one of the film's most telling scenes, Solomon meets Gaenor's parents and they quote memorized Bible passages to each other as a point of contact.
The secret love affair between the two grows more passionate. Then a member of the church who has been attracted to Gaenor denounces her as a fornicator, made pregnant by a stranger. She is banned from the religious community. When Gaenor finally discovers Solomon's true identity, she meets with his Orthodox parents but they are unwilling to accept that she's carrying their grandchild. It is up to Solomon to make one last effort to prove the depth of his love for her.
Watching this romantic drama unfold, it is sad to see how religious bigotry can stamp out the hopes and dreams of two lovers. But it has happened again and again and will not end until Jews and Christians learn to build bridges and accept inclusivity as a part of their practice of hospitality.