Rabbi follows the 13-year evolution of Amichai Lau-Lavie from drag queen to rabbinical student to 21st century spiritual innovator. His cousin is the Chief Rabbi of Israel, his uncle is the former Chief Rabbi, and he descends from 37 generations of rabbis back to King David.
At first, Lau-Lavie rejects the call to become a rabbi, claiming, "Artists are the new rabbis." He launches Storahtelling, a Jewish ritual theater, and creates and performs a drag character, Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross, a Hasidic rabbi's wife. Over time, he puts aside Hadassah's wig and mask and we see him go through an extraordinary transformation. Lau-Lavie enters Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) to become a rabbi, the first in 37 generations in his family who will take on the role of rabbi outside Orthodoxy. We watch as he slowly embraces the ancient role of rabbi on his own terms, weaving together his explorations in a wide range of worlds - trickster, gay, counterculture, skeptic and seeker.
Lau-Lavie launches Lab/Shul (www.labshul.org), an everybody-friendly, God-optional, artist-driven, pop-up experimental congregation. After officiating at an interfaith marriage, he resigns from the conservative Rabbinic Assembly and becomes a post-denominational rabbi in spirit and now in name. He was recently named #3 of the 50 most influential, accomplished and interesting American Jews in 2017 by The Forward. He shows how religions, radically reinvented for now, can be a potent force for human rights and global tolerance, and creatively brings ancient ritual alive for our world today with hilarious and surprising twists.
All donations for the production and distribution of Rabbi are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Any donations of $500 receive a special thanks in the film's credits and website. If you would like to make a donation, please write your check to HARTLEY FILM FOUNDATION (until December 1st) or to AUBURN SEMINARY and designate it to Rabbi in the lower left-hand corner.
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DuBowski is looking to raise funds for post-production and outreach. All donations are tax-deductible.
Funders include The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, Barbara Dobkin Foundation, Bertha Foundation, The van Ameringen Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Hartley Film Foundation, Daryl & Steven Roth Foundation, Reboot, The Queer Evolution Fund of Tides Foundation on recommendation of Craig Harwood and Tim Saternow, NYSCA, Union Square Fund, The Canet Foundation, The Helen and Murry Erlich Foundation, Influence Film Foundation, Jenerosity Foundation, Candescent Films, Genuine Article Pictures, Norman L. Sandfield Charitable Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, Compton Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, CrossCurrents Foundation, Felzen Family Foundation, and Ullman Family Foundation.
If you would like to explore films with similar themes, please click on Judaism.