Subjects: Immigration, Middle Eastern Studies, African Studies, Religious Studies
In Ethiopia, there is a community of over nine thousand Jews. They speak Hebrew, keep kosher and have relatives in Israel, yet Israel continues to deny their appeals for aliyah — the Jewish birthright to become a citizen of Israel. They survive within a temporary, difficult reality in Ethiopia, dreaming of one day living fully as Jews in Israel.
The Passengers follows the amazing journey of two young Ethiopian Jews, Demoz and Gezi, as they represent their abandoned community on a fateful mission in America. The purpose of the trip is to join forces with prominent American Jewish leaders to pressure the Israeli government into completing the Ethiopian aliyah. With intimate access and detailed historical context, we follow the unlikely spokesmen, out of Ethiopia for the first time in their lives, as they deal with the pressure, homesickness and ups and downs of a grassroots campaign, while growing and thriving personally from the emotional journey.
The Ethiopian Jews continue to wait. Become an advocate for this community through supporting the documentary.
Official Selection of IDA 2019 and Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2020
"At a time when there are protests in this country about families seeking asylum being separated at the border, the images of Ethiopians now in Israel holding up photos of family members left behind are striking." - The New York Jewish Week
About the filmmaker
Ryan S. Porush is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Los Angeles. He has produced, filmed and edited documentaries and short films around the world, with an emphasis on telling dynamic, character-driven stories. His award-winning first film, TWO HUNDRED PERCENT, about one young man’s journey to Israel to reunite with his forgotten father 15 years after a tragic accident, screened at film festivals in 2016. Most recently, he has collaborated with Endeavor Films, VICE, GQ, Vocativ, and National Geographic.
Originally from the suburbs of L.A., Porush received a B.A. from the UC Santa Barbara and subsequently completed a Master’s in documentary journalism at New York University.