Price: $310.00

    Code: 2241

    Directed by Monica Haim
    2005, 2020 65 minutes

    Ever wonder why Jews and Rastafarians both use the Star of David and make references to Zion? Director Monica Haim's exuberant documentary, Awake Zion, explores the surprising connections between reggae culture and Judaism.

    All the way back to the alleged sultry affair between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, a certain blend of Jewish flavor has crept into 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 share fundamental views towards faith, dietary and sexual ethics, and particularly the notion of repatriation.

    In Awake Zion, Haim brings together Jewish and Jamaican artists, scholars, and historians in a celebration of music, roots and culture. She embarks on a journey that takes her from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where she meets with Hasidic dancehall superstar Matisyahu, to Jamaica, birthplace of reggae, and ultimately to Israel, where a small, sizzling reggae scene thrives. Along the way, Awake Zion tells a fascinating story of unsuspecting cultural and historical convergence, a story about symbols, themes and traditions shared by people who might seem to be on opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Closing Night Film, Margaret Mead Film Festival, 2005
    * Honorable Mention, Best Documentary Short, Black Point Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, World Jewish Film Festival, Israel, 2005
    * Official Selection, Rome Independent Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, Miami Jewish Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, Portland Jewish Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, Boston Jewish Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, Toronto Jewish Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, DC Independent Film Festival, April 2005

    Further Reading

    “Monica Haim's humorous, sometimes mind-blowing new documentary, explores the reasons why Matisyahu’s ‘wah-wah-yo’s are a shade away from reggae’s ‘whoi-yoi-yoi’s.” - Village Voice

    “In its determination to narrow the space between Blacks and Jews, the film has a social conscience that lifts it beyond the bounds of a typical music doc.” - Jewish San Francisco