It's to music what the bagel is to food - a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan sang it. Elvis, too. And that's only the beginning when it comes to Hava Nagila. Follow the infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de-sacs of America in this hilarious and surprisingly deep film. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more, HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE) takes viewers from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village and Hollywood, using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music. Written by
Even if you are not Jewish, you probably know the song "hava nagila", festive folk song that is played at most Jewish celebrations. In the Hava Naglia (The Movie), you are taken back to the history of this song. Seems most don't know about its origins. Turns out that two claim its authorship but most likely it bubbled up from the Ukraine where a charismatic rabbi used it to celebrate the faith. What I learned was that the song is really not that old, it is really a modern song. The influences of the Jews evolution in American enabled this song to grow into the cultural icon it has become. The movie is full of interesting clips of the diversity of singer's interpretation of the song from Elvis, Lena Horne, and Harry Belafonte. When I first saw the title of the song I wondered how you could make a film length movie on a song that is short and central to any Jewish gathering, but director Roberta Grossman had made a highly entertaining and educative tale. A cross cultural song Hava Naglia takes you into a delightful world of celebration. I saw this film as featured in the 2013 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
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