Against a backdrop of racial tensions and spanning four decades, Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale explores the entanglements of three lives: Joshua Eubanks, a young black man struggling to overcome the crime, drugs, and despair of the streets; Rachel Weissman, daughter of a Hassidic rabbi, wrestling pangs of rebelliousness against the insular and restrictive practices of her religion; and Paul Sims, the product of a privileged Long Island Jewish family, yearning to escape his troubled past.
Joshua first encounters Rachel in the local synagogue, where he works as an assistant to the custodian. Over the years their bond intensifies, though their lives diverge. Rachel aspires to be a doctor, a blasphemous choice for a woman in her culture. Joshua kills a man in self defense, and is alienated from his own community. Paul leaves his home to find solace in the Hasidic enclave of Crown Heights.
From different worlds and unaware they share a father, Joshua and Paul see their lives collide in a quest for Rachel's love. Through these and other challenges, culminating with the 1991 Crown Heights riots, this story explores the tensions between two communities in close physical proximity, but still worlds apart. Through Joshua, Rachel, and Paul, a vision of hope is offered, but tempered by the realities of human frailty and tragedy.