H. ALAN SCOTT — a gay writer, stand-up comedian, former Mormon, cancer survivor, and convert to Judaism — is on a path to becoming, as he says, “the best Jew I can be.” That spiritual and cultural journey is chronicled with depth, insight, and large doses of humor in “Latter Day Jew,” a new documentary that will have its state premiere at a New Jersey Jewish Film Festival Extra! event on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. at JCC MetroWest in West Orange.
Producer/director Aliza Rosen will join in a post-screening discussion via Skype from California.
In the film, an IndieFEST Film Award of Excellence winner, Scott takes a deep dive into his background to reveal what it was like growing up Mormon and gay: the “ultimate outsider.”
His meetings with other seekers and guides help him navigate the obstacle-strewn road to religious transformation. He shares a seder with a Mormon couple on the brink of becoming Jews themselves and talks to rabbis who counsel Scott on how to get the most out of his embrace of Judaism.
As he studies for his bar mitzvah, he seeks direction from a bunch of
12-year-olds preparing for their own rite of passage. His encounters with close friends include kibitzing with comedian Judy Gold, who offers her own uproarious and touching take on Jewish identity.
Visiting Israel, during Tel Aviv Pride week, Scott buys his first tallit, prays at the Kotel, and takes a lesson in shofar-blowing.
His exploration, Scott says, leads to the realization that “spiritual and cultural identity is deeper than just what we are born into or what our families believed and taught us.”
Tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors, free for sponsors of the 20th annual NJJFF, which takes place March 19-29. Organizations and individuals
are invited to become festival sponsors and receive a range of benefits;
call 973-530-3417, go to jccmetrowest.org/njjff, or contact festival director Sarah Diamond at email@example.com or 973-929-2938.