LUNAR: The Jewish-Asian Film Project

Supported by Be’chol Lashon

Mission

LUNAR aims to highlight the racial and cultural diversity of the Jewish community by celebrating and making visible the experiences of young adults (18-30) who exist at the intersection of Jewish and Asian American in a short-form video series. The LUNAR team will be producing eight videos: five 5-10 minute themed collective activities and discussion, and three 30-minute long in-depth interviews.

Meet the Team

Davi Cheng

Graphic Designer

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Davi Cheng
Graphic Designer

Davi Cheng is a graphic designer in Los Angeles. Born in Hong Kong, Davi immigrated to the United States with her family when she was fourteen. In addition to her rich Chinese heritage, Davi has embraced Judaism and is actively involved in her synagogue and the larger Jewish community. Davi’s art work reflects the diverse aspects of her life and the unique perspective it has given her, she like to combine traditional methods of drawing and painting by hand with advanced digital design techniques and has created original Jewish art with a Chinese flare. Davi is one of 54 women Jewish artists of the “Women of the Book” project – A visual, midrashic (interpretive) scroll based on the form and content of a traditional Torah scroll and created on 54 parchment panels (the number of Torah portions) by 54 Jewish women artists from around the world. Davi has designed, co-fabricated and installed an original large-scale stained-glass window project at her Los Angeles synagogue Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC). Her installation includes a Ner Tamid (Eternal light fixture) made with 1,000+ one-inch glass squares, and a set of stained glass Ark doors, glass Mezuzah and glass-stone magnets for the memorial board (in lieu of light bulbs).

Davi has served as the Executive Vice President at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Pacific Southwest Regional Board and she is the Past President of Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), “House of New Life,” the original gay and lesbian synagogue.

Davi is the co-founder of a Klezmer band, “Gay Gezunt.” where she plays the trumpet and French horn, she also sings in the choir. In addition to her interests in art and music, Davi holds a second-degree black belt in Judo. Davi holds an A.A. in Graphic Design from Platt College and a B.A. degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her spouse and life-partner (40 years and counting), Bracha Yael, who was selected in 2008 as one of Top Ten Mensches by Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Bracha and Davi often co-lead Shabbat services as lay leaders.

Jared Chiang-Zeizel

Filmmaker

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Jared Chiang-Zeizel
Filmmaker

Jared Chiang-Zeizel is an LA-based writer, editor, and producer. Growing up he never found himself fully part of any community — not quite Asian enough, not quite Jewish enough. A compulsive daydreamer, he often would dive into his imagination and explore fantastical worlds and stories. It wasn’t until after he graduated college that he realized that this pull towards fantasy stemmed from a life of otherism and a lack of community. Nowadays, he’s drawn to projects and ideas that feature mixed individuals and third culture kids. He hopes that being part of the LUNAR projects will further his curiosity and understanding of himself and those like him.

Jenni Rudolph

Co-Creator and Creative Director

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Jenni Rudolph
Co-Creator and Creative Director

Jenni Rudolph is a Los Angeles-based songwriter, vocalist, and vocal producer, with a broader background in media production. Jenni was featured in Jubilee Media’s “Do All Multiracial People Think The Same?”, and is working on an upcoming song, music video, and behind-the-scenes documentary about mixed identity in collaboration with a team of mixed creatives.

Gen Slosberg

Co-Creator and Producer

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Gen Slosberg
Co-Creator and Producer

Gen Xia Ye Slosberg is a Jewish non-profit professional working at Jewish Youth for Community Action (JYCA), and formerly served as the Executive Director of Mixed @ Berkeley. She will receive her B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley in December 2020. Gen was born and raised in Southern China and moved to the United States as a teenager. Getting involved with mixed-race and Jews of Color communities had a huge impact on her identity development, and she is excited to build an affirming community through LUNAR. She hopes to foster a sense of shared identity among participants in LUNAR and increase visibility of Asian-Americans in the Jewish community. You can read more about Gen’s story and perspectives in this J. article and this interview with Mixed Life Media.

FAQ

What kind of videos will LUNAR be making, and what topics will they touch on?

We will be filming, editing and promoting a series of 5-8 videos. Five of the videos will be five to ten minutes, covering each of the following sub-themes in the context of Jewish Asian American identity — finding community, food, language, stereotypes & the model minority myth, and cultural values. The rest (number of videos TBD) will be 20-30 minute in-depth interviews about a specific Jewish Asian American intersection – we have already filmed a Jewish & Chinese in-depth video, and we plan to add at least two more identity intersections to the series, depending on the participants who are cast.

Please note that these themes and content structure are tentative, and we are eager to hear insights from our team and cast on how we can improve or change our content design to be more inclusive, engaging and relevant. We will collectively as a team + cast finalize our content design together.

What inspired you to create LUNAR?

This project was inspired by five young Chinese and Jewish womxn, who came together through Facebook and gathered on Zoom to talk about our experiences with our racial and cultural identities. Choosing such a specific identity intersection allowed our discussion to start with more common ground and uncover more nuances. While we could relate to each other on a deeper level due to our similar racial identities, we still had drastically different lived experiences. Having this opportunity allowed us to feel affirmed and heard, so we were compelled to bring this experience to more Jewish and Asian American individuals and showcase the video products to our broader communities.

Why is the project called LUNAR?

We named this project LUNAR because it is an accessible, clear way to represent the intersection of Jewish and Asian-American identities. Both Jewish and some Asian cultural holidays are based on lunisolar calendars, and the moon holds symbolic significance in many Asian cultures and literature traditions. The moon also represents how many multicultural folks navigate our connection to our distinct yet fluid identities. Different facets of our identities can cause us to present different “faces” based on the space or community we are in, just like the moon.

Additionally, we wanted to move away from naming in Hebrew, a practice common in Jewish communal organizations, because both creators had experienced feeling as if Jewish content was not accessible due to the use of Hebrew words without explanation or context. We wanted to hold that as multicultural Jews, we have varying (dis)connections to our Jewish identity – while Hebrew/language in general is a powerful tool of connecting to Judaism for some of us, for others it may be an additional barrier to further engagement with Jewish life.

Why does the project not include Pacific Islanders, given the common label “Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)”?

For the purposes of this project, we decided to forego the AAPI label and instead just use Asian American. As an exclusively Asian-American team of creators, we do not feel that we have the proper resources or knowledge to fully represent and portray Pacific Islander experiences, and we would not want to include PIs in a topical and tokenizing manner. We consulted with some PI folks in our network, and they agreed that using the label “Asian American” exclusively would be more accurate for our project, and an act of allyship to PI communities through foregoing the harmful lumping that comes with the AAPI identifier. We hope to see future efforts specifically highlighting Pacific Islanders in the Jewish community, and we are eager to uplift the work of folks in that identity intersection.

What organizations are involved with LUNAR?

We are partnering with Be’chol Lashon to host our content on their blog and social media platforms. Be’chol Lashon (Hebrew for “in every language”), founded in 2000, strengthens Jewish identity by raising awareness about the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience. We are also generously funded by the Jews of Color Initiative’s mini-grant program. The Jews of Color Initiative is a national effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color.

Coming February 2021!

Questions or concerns? Feel free to email the creators.