Chavruta: A Drummer’s Bat Mitzvah (short film)

CHAVRUTA: A DRUMMER’S BAT MITZVAH is a 15-minute documentary short by Portland, Oregon-based filmmaker Jodi Darby, with drummer/ecologist Lisa Schonberg and musician/Torah teacher Alicia Jo Rabins. CHAVRUTA follows Lisa and Alicia as they trade rock drum lessons for Torah chanting lessons in a feminist project combining ritual, study and art, culminating in Lisa’s adult bat mitzvah.

The word “chavruta” refers to the traditional partner-style study of Jewish texts. Viewers join Alicia and Lisa on a wide-ranging journey of study as together they explore such varied subjects as how to chant the Torah, pre-Israelite goddess culture, the history of women’s drumming in the ancient Near East, female spiritual leadership, and ecology. At its core, CHAVRUTA is a short film about how we pass on wisdom from one generation to the next, how we honor ancient traditions while holding on to contemporary values, and the power of friendship.

This film was made with invaluable support from Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Peleh Fund.

We are excited to share the full film with you! Please enjoy and share, and feel free to use in educational and group contexts. Captions are available: enable by clicking “CC” on the bottom right and selecting “English”.

To accompany the film, we have created a two-page discussion guide which includes basic percussion lesson (no drums necessary, just hands), questions for discussion, and bibliography. 

In addition, Alicia and Lisa are available for screenings, Q&A’s and Skype visits to your classroom, Rosh Chodesh circle or study group.

Alicia and Lisa perform a drum composition based on the Torah portion

performing a joint drum composition based on Lisa’s Torah portion in the yard, during her bat mitzvah