Matt Honig, a documentarian from outside Washington, D.C., is making a movie that traces the history of Judaism, political change–and punk rock. Punk is a lifestyle that’s mostly tied to music, and it espouses a do-it-yourself culture. This makes for loud and fuzzy self-produced albums, and also music that expresses self-empowerment and the idea that–socially, politically, or otherwise–you can do anything.
Honig is only 17 years old, but he already has a few laurels as a filmmaker–he created a homemade animated film depicting the popular band Alkaline Trio, and the band released it as an official music video. Now, filming on Honig’s documentary (titled Tikkun Olam: The Relationship Between Judaism and Punk Rock) is underway. Honig and his collaborators are trying to finance it themselves, and to that end, they have released an mp3 compilation and a CD featuring some of their favorite bands. In honor of the punk-rock in-your-face attitude, the CD is entitled Gay Avek–that’s Yiddish for “go away.”
The 19 songs on Gay Avek highlight some unexpected crossovers between punk culture, folk culture, and activism. The CD includes great folk-singing activists such as Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen, who have strong Jewish ties.
Download it for only $5, or you can listen to the whole thing free. Or for $3 more, they’ll send you an actual CD in the mail, with some great cover art featuring a stenciled rendition of Emma Goldman. More than a testament to the radicality of Judaism’s past, it’s also a great sign that Judaism in the future–and the Jews of tomorrow–will continue the proud legacy of fighting the powers that be.