Dir. Monica Haim | 2014 | 62 min.
The infamous Crown Heights race riots in the summer of '91 set the tone for an urban battleground between Jewish and Black communities in Brooklyn. The fallout is still felt in this historically diverse neighborhood to this day. A vibrant and unique reggae music scene has emerged out of this tinderbox, which is a curious cultural hybrid of Rasta and Jewish influences - the most notable example being the platinum-selling Matisyahu. All of which begs the question: what gives?
For director Monica Haim, reggae music ignited something that went far beyond the melodies and beats. Her experience with Rasta and reggae gave rise to a discovery of shared histories and common beliefs - and an unexpected doorway towards connecting with her own Jewish roots. All the way back to the alleged sultry affair between the Jewish King Solomon and the African Queen of Sheba, Jewish influence is evident in the spiritual history of Ethiopia - turning up subtly in Rastafarian lifestyle and then, inevitably, in reggae. Chronicling the story of this unlikely kinship, Awake Zion unites Jewish and Jamaican musicians, scholars, and historians in a celebration of roots and culture—a beat-laden adventure that kicks off in Brooklyn, travels to Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae, and culminates in Israel, where a sizzling reggae scene thrives today. Awake Zion is a deeply personal examination of what it means to be Jewish, Rasta, white or black - and, most importantly, the universal search for what it means to be "home."
Join us for a talk before the screening, presented by Charm City Tribe! What do the Rabbis and the Rastas have in common?
talk 6:30 | film 7:30pm | $10, $7 mbrs. | +$3 at the door
Presented in partnership w/ The Gordon Center, the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival, and Charm City Tribe.
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