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Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival: “Awake Zion”
January 26, 2006 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EST
Awake Zion (Monica Haim) is a documentary that explores the unsuspecting connections between Rasta, Reggae, and Judaism, through one woman’s beat-laden adventure into the meaning of identity. 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. Consider that one of the first reggae songs ever broadcast on radio was called “Israelites” – or that Rastas and Orthodox Jews take cues from identical passages of the bible on matters of faith, prayer, and dietary and sexual ethics. Most notable, however, is the ever-present theme of “Zion” that runs deeply in both cultures – the notion of a common longing for repatriation – be it to a spiritual, or physical, homeland. Unravelling the story of this unlikely kinship, Awake Zion unites Jewish and Jamaican musicians, scholars, and historians in a celebration roots and culture – traveling from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where Caribbean and Jewish cultures share a history of adversity – to Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae – and ultimately to Israel, where a sizzling reggae scene thrives today. Awake Zion examines the preconceptions of what it means to be Jewish, what it means to be Rasta, what it means to be white or black – and, most importantly, the universal search for what it means to be “home”.
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