Black Israel

An African guest worker who plays in an all-French soccer league in Tel Aviv; a religious student in Jerusalem who traces his heritage to a Hebraic tribe in Nigeria; a Togolese ambassador; and a community of African-Americans who run Israel's first tofu factory are among the people we meet in this unique documentary exploring the intersection of blacks and Jews in Israel and beyond. The film introduces us to the Hebrew Israelite community of Dimona, where a group of African-Americans who fled urban slums in the 1960s have formed an independent community in the Negev desert; an Ethiopian Jewish congregation in Harlem preparing for a marriage; an African man learning Yiddish in Paris; and Rebecca Walker, the biracial daughter of civil rights activist Alice Walker. A Harlem rabbi reveals his thoughts on the spread of Judaism in sub-Saharan Africa, while black Jews ponder the shared and disparate histories of racial and religious persecution between black and Jewish people. We also hear from black people who have converted to Judaism from various backgrounds, addressing the negative and positive ways in which people are affected by their heritage, and the steps they're willing to take to live the lives they desire. This engaging film is a vibrant portrait of pluralistic 21st-century Jewish identities across the globe.
Maurice Dorès is a searcher and a filmmaker. He lived several years in Senegal, Africa. Afterwards he worked in the departments of Ethnology and Psychology at Paris University VII. Dorès produced documentary films on Africa and published two books, La Femme Village, Maladies Mentales et Guérisseurs en Afrique Noire, (The Village Woman, Mental Diseases and the Healers in Black Africa), and La Beauté de Cham, Mondes Juifs, Mondes Noirs, (The Beauty of Ham, Jewish worlds, Black worlds). Films: 1975 : “Borom Xam Xam”, 60 minutes A healer in Saint Louis of Senegal 1982 : “Sept nuits et sept jours”, Seven nights and seven days, 50 minutes A healing ceremony in Senegal. English version distributed by Filmmakers library, New York. Awarded in three film festival, Paris, Nice, Lorquin. 1986 : “Cap Manuel”, 15 minutes 1989 : “Psychiatrie à Dakar, 52 minutes 2002 : “Black Israel ”, 88 minutes
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