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Meet Larry Jaffe, the 98 year-old first-time Jewish producer of a hit Christian movie

Miracles abound in the Christian faith-based movie “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles,” but perhaps the most miraculous thing about the movie, which opened just before Easter, is its producer: Larry Jaffe.

Jaffe is 98-years-old, and this was his first-ever foray into movies.

Oh, and he’s Jewish.

Larry Jaffe

Larry Jaffe Image by Courtesy photo

“I have many Jewish friends who have seen the movie and they really feel good and uplifted about it,” Jaffe said. “We need good things to happen to us after this year of isolation the pandemic has brought about.”

In the movie, young Sara Hopkins, after hearing a preacher promise that faith can move mountains, begins to pray. Miracles start to occur—a bird is mysteriously healed, and suddenly people all over town are cured of their illnesses, misery and misfortune.

But all of this attention becomes overwhelming and begins to take a toll on Sara. Will her family be able to step in and save her before it’s too late? Jaffe promises many dramatic twists and turns throughout the movie.

“This is a story about miracles,” Jaffe said, slipping effortlessly into the kind of pitching his new profession requires.

Jaffe’s own narrative includes a few miracles of its own. It’s not every day that a 98-year-old becomes a first-time film producer, delivering a movie that features Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino, Emmy® winner Peter Coyote and Kevin Sorbo.

“The Girl Who Believes in Miracles” film still

About six years ago, Jaffe was trying to help a friend get his script produced. After the usual ups and downs, they met screenwriter Michael Mercier, who shared his script for “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles.”

“I had a dramatic reaction to it. It really touched my heart,” Jaffe recalled.

Jaffe grew up in the Bronx, then moved with his family to Stamford Connecticut as a teenager. He served in the Marines during World War II. As a member of the First Division, Jaffe was about to attack Japan.

“We were told that 90% of us would probably die during that mission,” he said. “But while we were on our way, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so our ship changed course,” Jaffe said.

This change of events saved his life. Jaffe spent nine months on occupation duty in Nagasaki as the quartermaster for a US Navy Medical unit. Courtesy of the Marines, Jaffe earned his master’s degree in marketing and statistics from Columbia University, and graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. He then pursued a successful career in marketing.

“The Girl Who Believes in Miracles” movie poster

Jaffe said his long involvement with the social action committee of his synagogue,Temple Shir Shalom in Gainesville, Florida, inspired him to make the movie.

Profits from the movie, he hopes, will fund a major initiative to help the poor through a program he created, Integrated Approach to Improve Health and Education in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods, which he wants to implement for his needy and deserving neighbors in East Gainesville.

“I consider making this movie to be a link to my ultimate goal in life,” he said. “ I believe that the income disparity that’s been growing in our country has the potential of destroying our democracy.

Meanwhile, Jaffe already has two scripts he’s working on with several potential investors lined up. When asked about coming to the movie industry later in life — much later — Jaffe said, “That’s because the opportunities didn’t arrive until I was 92 years old. I’ve been working on this ever since. You’re never too old to start something new and succeed.”

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