Simon Bar Kokhba

screenplay by Alan Nafzger

An epic story of revolution and drama, Simon Bar Kokhba is the story of the leader of the greatest revolution against the Romans.

Jews had been barred from Jerusalem (one of the factors which started the war to begin with) as well as the outlawing by the Romans of all Jewish religious practises, law and Jewish learning.

The Jewish state lasted three years before it was crushed by the entire might of roman rule but not before a heroic and fierce resistance by the Jews, which nearly led to the sapping of the strength of the Roman Empire.

Bar Kokhba took up refuge in the fortress of Betar. The Romans eventually captured it and killed all the defenders. According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed, 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed.


Simon bar Kokhba is portrayed in rabbinic literature as being somewhat irrational and irascible in conduct. The Talmud says that he presided over an army of Jewish insurgents numbering some 200,000, but had compelled its young recruits to prove their valor by each man chopping off one of his own fingers. The Sages of Israel complained to him why he marred the people of Israel with such blemishes. Whenever he’d go forth into battle, he was reported as saying: “O Master of the universe, there is no need for you to assist us [against our enemies], but do not embarrass us either!” It is also said of him that he killed his maternal uncle, Rabbi Eleazar Hamuda?i, after suspecting him of collaborating with the enemy. Bar Kokhba was a ruthless leader, punishing any Jew who refused to join his ranks. According to Eusebius’ Chronicon (now Chronicle of Jerome), he severely punished the sect of Christians with death by different means of torture for their refusal to fight against the Romans.

This latest work of historical fiction from Alan Nafzger exposes the life and times of this fiery revolutionary, shedding a light on the fascinating historical figure along with the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Rabbi Akiva, the great Talmudic sage that helped spark the Bar Kokhba revolution.

This screenplay describes one of the most exciting eras in Jewish history, I’m looking to illustrate the irreconcilable worldviews of the “enlightened” Roman Empire and the Jewish people, stubbornly faithful to its God and culture. This screenplay describes a life and journey of love and sorrow, revolutions and wars, thrill of victory and agony of defeat.

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Screenplay Simon Bar Kokhba
Simon Bar Kokhba

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