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1998, 55 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99600
TREYF —“unkosher” in Yiddish— is an unorthodox documentary by and about two Jewish lesbians who met and fell in love at a Passover “seder”. With personal narration, real and imagined educational films, and haunting imagery, filmmakers Alisa Lebow and Cynthia Madansky examine the Jewish identity of their upbringings and its impact on their lives. Incisive cultural critics, astute, poignant, and poetic—never cynical—they weave their way from New York to Jerusalem in pursuit of a progressive, secular Jewish identity that draws from their childhood reminiscences as much as from their contemporary queer lives. As referenced in Alisa Lebow’s book First Person Jewish, TREYF is iconoclastic and intelligent, humorous and poignant, a personal journey from kibbutz summers to coming out, from keeping kosher to “Bat Mitzvahs.” A reflection on culture, community, and individual desire, this witty film follows the filmmakers as they discover what they thought was most profoundly “treyf” about their worldviews still has roots in Jewish history.


Jerusalem FF, Mayor’s Award, Jewish Experience
Chicago Film Festival, Certificate of Merit
NY Lesbian & Gay FF, Special Jury Prize

  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Charlotte Film and Video Festival

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    “Courageous, angry, witty, and joyous, this docu-diary examines the construction of lesbian Jewish-American identities with unflinching honesty and considerable love.”
    Linda Dittmar
    Univ of MA, Boston

    “Far more than autobiographical navel-gazing, this is a thoughtful exploration of contemporary Jewish identity—the Holocaust, religious practices and Israel—as well as how Jewish American lesbians of different ages and races live their lives with regard to family, homophobia, Judaism and anti-Semitism.”
    Goldie Charles
    The Jewish Week

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    Treyf is included in the following Special Collections.
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    First Person Jewish
    Alisa S. Lebow's new book on the interrelation between first person filmmaking and collective identity, includes analysis on her own film TREYF.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us