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Punk Jews (2012)

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Profiling Hassidic punk rockers, Yiddish street performers, African-American Jewish activists and more, Punk Jews explores an emerging movement of provocateurs and committed Jews.

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Profiling Hassidic punk rockers, Yiddish street performers, African-American Jewish activists and more, Punk Jews explores an emerging movement of provocateurs and committed Jews who are asking, each in his or her own way, what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. Jewish artists, activists and musicians from diverse backgrounds and communities are defying norms and expressing their Jewish identities in unconventional ways. In the process, they are challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers. Meet Yishai, lead singer of Moshiach Oi; Radical performance group, the Sukkos Mob; the renegade Orthodox participants of Cholent; the Amazing Amy Yoga Yenta; Kal Holczler, founder of Voices of Dignity; and African American Jewish hip hop sensation Y-Love. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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2012 (USA)  »

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The filmmakers earned most of the money needed to produce the film through Kickstarter. See more »

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Uneven
17 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

Despite the eye-catching title Punk Jews is a rather tepid documentary, an attempt to look at subcultures within mainstream Judaism with so loose and broad a focus it ends up meaning very little. The problem is perhaps that the filmmakers defined punk so loosely and found no shortage of worthy subjects: a Yiddish theatre troupe, a man trying to bring about awareness of sexual abuse in the orthodox community he left behind, black orthodox Jews who also rap etc. The documentary lurches from one subject to the next, only giving cursory appreciation to people whose individual endeavours would be worthy of a full length documentary themselves.

Still Punk Jews is an enjoyable, fast-paced film and for those interested in Judaism, sub-cultures or who just want something quick and easy to watch it's an interesting way to kill an hour.


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