From Hasidic punk rockers, Yiddish street performers, African-American Jewish activists, this film covers politics, art, fashion, and religion like you have never seen before. Punk Jews explores a rising trend among committed Jews who are sincerely asking and expressing what it really means to be Jewish in the 21st century while smashing stereotypes. The term ‘punk’ is usually used to describe a group of singers with Mohawks and safety pins in their ears but the true essence of punk are people that don’t conform to the established expectations, who express themselves freely regardless of the opinions of others. This documentary is about ‘punk’ Jews.
Like most religious cultures, Judaism is struggling to bridge the gap between tradition and the modern world. There seem to be many different contradictory interpretations of Jewish traditions and many wrestle to find the answers to common questions regarding the stereotypes, rules, and regulations. This film takes us to New York City where there’s a new movement of young Jewish people expressing Judaism in unconventional ways. They are defying the norm at any cost as they embrace their Jewish identity in their own rediscovered ways.
Meet Yishai, lead singer of Moshiach Oi. He classifies his music as punk rock and states that he enjoys screaming praises to Hashem all day. Their goal is to bring the Messiah into the world through their music and to shake people up and get them out of their seats.
Kal Holczler left the ultra orthodox community that adheres to an extremely strict form of Judaism. This community, New Square is probably one of the most difficult places to reform. As you walk down the streets you will find a red sign that indicates where women should walk and a blue sign for men. But this one man is calling for change. After being the victim of sexual abuse in this community, he founded Voices of Dignity to put an end to the cycle.
Isaac Shonfeld founded Chulent, what started off as a small gathering place for offbeat Jews, because he wanted to provide a space for people to explore themselves without being judged. Sort of like a support group. Chulent is actually a type of traditional Jewish food, a stew with a bunch of ingredients thrown into the pot, which is what it’s a perfect name for a group of Jews that accepts all kinds of backgrounds and ideas.
Then there are the stories of the Amazing Amy’s Yoga Yenta and the African American Jewish hip-hop sensation Y-Love. This thought-provoking documentary makes you question your own beliefs and wonder how breaking the mold of your own religious belief can bring you closer to your true self.