Saturday, December 15, 2007

BLACK ISRAEL documentary, January 17 2008

a film by Maurice Dores

Location:Cal Anderson House at Cal Anderson Park, 1635 - 11th Avenue, Capitol Hill, Seattle (Broadway Playfield area), near Richard Hugo House

Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. – Suggested donation: $5.00. This film is 88 minutes long.

This engaging film is a vibrant portrait of pluralistic 21st-century Jewish identities across the globe. It documents Africans and African-Americans who live in Israel and practice Judaism there. Africans from Nigeria, Togo, the Congo, Zaire, Lagos and Ethiopia have emigrated to Israel to work or to study Judaism. They were unable to study their religion at home since there was no one to teach them.

In the Negev desert, several thousand Black Americans who fled the urban slums in the 1960's have formed an independent community where they practice their own version of the Hebraic religion under the law of their leader Carter Ben Ami. Although they have been denied citizenship in Israel, they enjoy friendly relations with Israelis and believe Israel is "the kingdom of Paradise on Earth."

Many Black Jews born in the Caribbean have moved to the U.S. to practice Judaism. One congregant of the Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Harlem, born in Trinidad, recalls that his father's family which had Sephardic roots, kept kosher and celebrated the Sabbath. We meet a diverse group of people from a Harlem rabbi who reveals his thoughts on the spread of Judaism in sub-Saharan Africa, to Rebecca Walker, the biracial daughter of civil rights activist Alice Walker and to an African learning Yiddish in Paris. As one Jew from Nigeria concludes "Judaism has no color."

"Black Israel is highly recommended for jr. high, sr. high, college, and general adult audiences interested in Judaic studies, Religion in general, and area studies focusing on Israel as well as for general audiences interested in Jews, Israel, and/or people of color." Sheila Intner, Simmons College GSLIS at Mt. Holyoke for EMRO

New York Jewish Film Festival, 2004
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 2003
San Francisco Black Film Festival, 2003

"A fascinating documentary that explores the incredible diversity of Judaism and its influence on a population of Africans and Afro-Americans." --Bernard Loupias, Nouvel Observateur

"...shows Black Jewishness finding its place in the diversity of Judaism." --Serge Blumenfeld, Le Monde