Moshe Mones (a.k.a. Paul Mones on Google and imdb.com) spent many years as an actor/writer/director/producer in the Hollywood Film Industry. Before that he studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio in Manhattan, worked for CBS Local News, played in bands, won first place in the PBS young filmmakers awards and sold shoes. He was cast in an ABC TV series opposite Patrick Swayze (THE RENEGADES) and brought out to Hollywood for the first time. He had, as they say, ‘arrived’.
Mr. Mones worked as an actor in films, t.v. and theater, wrote a novel (A Song for Modern Man)produced and directed original plays off-Broadway one of which ‘The Beat’ became his movie directorial debut, producing it with Jon Kilik (Hunger Games etc.) Nick Wechsler (American Assassin, Sex Lies and Video Tape etc.)and Julia Phillips (Taxi Driver, The Sting, Close Encounters). The very off-beat ‘The Beat’ kicked off a series of award winning films for Mr. Mones as well as large ‘Blockbuster’ movies.
Mr. Mones worked with actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Helena Bonham Carter, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, James Spader, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal the eclectic list goes on. But Moshe (his real, given Hebrew name) did not go on. At least not in the Hollywood sense.
In 2002, Moshe Paul Mones decided there were other Paths to explore in life and left the business of Film and Hollywood. He became a teacher in Upstate N.Y. creating experiential learning programs (called Mythix) for Public and Private schools. He started and ran a Summer Day Camp at Woodstock Day School servicing 200 children a day. He was having a ball. At that time Moshe also started traveling back and forth to Israel. And it was in Jerusalem that Moshe Mones was ‘opened up’ to the Universe and dived head first into his Judaism.
The next number of years Moshe Mones spent years learning with Rabbis and institutions around the world. He started a ‘Chavrusah’ (a Jewish study group) in Woodstock N.Y. Finally @2009, Moshe Mones was given ‘lay Semicha’….the title Rabbi.
In 2010, R. Moshe Mones, with a group of ‘Woodstockers’ opened up The Tinker Street Shul (Synagogue) in the heart of Woodstock. R. Moshe was head Rabbi and was sure G-d and life had led him to his heart’s desire. But, as always, G-d had other plans.
R. Mones became seriously ill in 2010/2011. He was told he had an unstoppable progressive, fatal disease. By Spring 2011, R. Mones had to give up The Tinker Street Shul, and deteriorated to being bed-ridden. Preparations were being made for full time care and Hospice. After an already incredible life, Moshe Mones was preparing himself for ‘the World to Come’.
Enter an angel. In the form of a Doctor and amazing human, who just happened to show up in Upstate N.Y. from working in the MidEast for years. R. Mones who could barely walk by then was taken by other angels to see this Doctor. The Doctor just looked at R. Mones, pronounced he could reverse the progression of this disease. Within one month of treatment, Moshe Mones was coming back to life out of the dark tunnel. A true Miracle. With more Miracles about to shower down around him.
Without a synagogue, or steady job, because of his illness, R. Moshe prayed to G-d to show him what to do. As he was getting B’H stronger every day, R. Mones was introduced by his own Rav (Avraham Sender Goldberger) to MR. DARREN SCHWARTZ (See his Bio) to talk about a possible job. Now Mr. Schwartz is a very successful businessman/philanthropist who also shared the journey of coming home to his Judaism later in life. There is a term for a person who makes this journey of ‘returning’ to Judaism, the term is“Baal Teshuva”, which translates literally to “Master of Return”. In fact it is said that a “Baal Teshuva” stands at a higher level than even a wise man” (Rambam’s Code of Jewish Law: Laws of Teshuvah 7:4) Why? Because the ‘Baal Teshuva’ has been to deep dark places where a righteous person dare not go and now the Baal Teshuva has the opportunity to bring the Light to those areas. Both R. Mones and Darren Schwartz are Baalie Teshuva.
That is why that despite the fact their meeting was for a whole different agenda, Darren Schwartz, after seeing Moshe Paul Mones’ resume, told R. Mones about a small book he read called “DOVID MEYER: The Orphan From Jerusalem.” Mr. Schwartz thought it’d make a great movie…and what better way to spread Light in the modern world than the mass Media? Mones figuring he’d happily help out, read the book. The book, touched and ignited a dormant spark in R. Mones. He agreed with Mr. Schwartz, here was something special.
With relative lightning speed, Darren Schwartz found himself for the first time in his life on a movie set Producing his first movie, and Moshe Paul Mones, went from his supposed ‘deathbed’ (G-d Forbid) to being transported, back to writing, directing, producing (and even acting), with a Grade A crew and one of the best casts Moshe Paul has ever worked with. But this was a whole different experience than any other production R. Mones had ever worked on. It was literally a Blessing. A Gift. A Miracle. From start to finish.
The result is the film, DOVID MEYER. Wrapped in June 2013. Focus screening comments and viewer ratings of the film have been through the roof. The film plays for mainstream and ‘Faith’ audiences. DOVID MEYER has Jews, Agnostics, Evangelical Christians, Hindus, everyone…laughing, crying, and filling them with Inspiration.
Now, as DOVID MEYER seeks its place in global distribution, Moshe Paul Mones and Darren Schwartz have their Sparks burning bright. They’ve started 26Entertainment. A Inspirational Media company with a Jewish spin. Their new project is a t.v. series SMALL MIRACLES, based on the best selling books by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal.
Because as Moshe Paul Mones has discovered, Life is full of immeasurable Miracles.