Punk Jews

A miniseries documents an alt-Jewish cultural scene emerging in NYC

Brooklyn-based filmmaker Jesse Zook Mann’s latest documentary project delves into the radical Judaism scene in New York. Originally announced on the crowd-sourced funding site Kickstarter, Punk Jews just reached their goal of raising $10,000 to make the film. Featuring musicians, artists, fashion designers and philosophers, Zook Mann describes Punk Jews as, “People owning their heritage, being creative with it, having fun with it—and doing so at any cost.”

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The alternative Jews featured include Cholent, a group of singing, dancing, music-playing, debating hasidic jews, that meet once a week to pray; 30-year-old half African-American, half Puerto Rican orthodox Jewish rapper Y-Love, who draws crowds at shows around town; Rivka Karasik, a 34-year-old mixed media artist, left her orthodox upbringing to experiment with religion through art; and Levi Okunov, who also left the hasidic community to experiment with controversial women’s clothing that juxtaposes revealing cuts with traditional symbols.

Hoping to shoot a feature-length documentary, the number of stories they found overwhelmed the producers, who decided to create a miniseries of documentaries instead. Learn more on the Punk Jews website.

You can also get a little taste by checking out the rough cut we recorded from the Punk Jews Fundraiser on June 19, 2010 in NYC, featuring the band Golem (above).