Sabbath Queen | Closing Night

San Francisco Closing Night

Director Sandi DuBowski and participant Amichai Lau-Lavie expected to attend

In the queer 90s, Sandi DuBowski filmed gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews in silhouette who were trying to reconcile their sexuality and their faith for his groundbreaking film Trembling Before G-d. Fast forward and DuBowski fixes his gaze on Radical Faerie Amichai Lau-Lavie, the “Sabbath Queen,” who emerges from her bathtub sipping Slivovitz on ice to greet the Shabbos. Amichai is Hadassah Gross, the ageless widow of six Hasidic rabbis, and the star of raunchy performance art cabaret shows. Sandi follows the epic cinematic journey of Amichai, the heir of 38 generations of Orthodox rabbis who is torn between rejecting and embracing his ancestral destiny. We follow along as he becomes a queer bio-dad, a prince of peace, and the founder of Lab/Shul, an everybody friendly, God-optional, artist-driven, pop-up experimental congregation. Can Judaism reinvent itself in a rapidly changing 21st century? Can Rebbetzin Hadassah have it all?

Recipient of a 2023 JFI Completion Grant

West Coast Premiere

Sandi DuBowski is the Director/Producer of Sabbath Queen, Director/Producer of Trembling Before G-d, Producer of A Jihad for Love, and Co-Producer of Budrus. His award-winning work has screened at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca and Toronto, theatrically released in 150 cities, and broadcast on ZDF/Arte, BBC, Channel 4, PBS. In 2020, he was invited to become a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. DuBowski spearheaded a groundbreaking impact campaign with the award-winning TREMBLING BEFORE G-D, personally conducting 850 live events, for over 250,000 people, which changed the lives of countless individuals, their families, religious leaders, and communities around the world. Feature stories on the project appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Globe and Mail, and BBC News. From 2009-2016, DuBowski worked with over 125 of the world’s best social justice documentaries as the Outreach Director of Doc Society’s Good Pitch. He is Co-Founder of The Creative Resistance, a collective of media makers who create award-winning political ads and design. In the mid-1990’s he began his media and activism work at Planned Parenthood Federation of America focused on the Christian right and the anti-abortion movement.

Sponsored by the Firehouse Fund. Additional support provided by Lisa K. and Matt Chanoff and by Catapult Film Fund.

Before the San Francisco Closing Night presentation of Sabbath Queen join Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie and Shira Kline, founders of Lab/Shul, for a special SoulSpa experience at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav.

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