‘Hummus! The Movie’: The Dish That Brings Us All Together


A tattooed Hasid, an Arab Christian from Ramle and the only female Muslim business owner in Acre’s Arab Market walk into a hummusiya …

It sounds like the setup to a joke, but it’s actually the setup to Hummus! The Movie. The odds of the three main characters — Eliyahu Shmueli, Jalil Dabit and Suheila al Hindi — going for lunch together, given their religious and cultural diversity, seems unlikely.

But as we discover in award-winning documentary filmmaker Oren Rosenfeld’s Hummus! The Movie, unlikely things are prone to happen in a hummusiya. Hummus, whose long history weaves across national and religious borders, has an incredible ability to bring people together. In Hummus! The Movie, Rosenfeld seeks to understand why.

“Hummus: It’s not normal, it’s magic,” says Eliyahu Shmueli, owner of a popular chain of hummus restaurants in Israel. But the perfect hummus recipe doesn’t come easily.

Just ask a fourth character, a French Benedictine monk named Oliver who we follow on his international hunt for the crowning bowl of hummus. Such a bowl requires immense dedication and love, according to Suheila al Hindi, recent winner of the Golden Pita Award for best hummus. “I’m married to hummus!” she exclaims.

On Tuesday, April 24, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s NextGen, JerusalemU, the Israeli American Council, the Chevra and the Jewish National Fund will team up to present a special screening of Hummus! The Movie. Join us to discover the history of hummus and what exactly makes this dish so extraordinarily appealing.

For starters, Jalil Dabit says, “Hummus is not about hummus;” it’s about more than chickpeas and tahini. It’s about mixture, and how each character’s personal relationship with the food blends together to create a diverse dish of history, compassion and, of course, appetite.

In the spirit of the film, we’ll gather afterward to mingle over hummus and light refreshments. Visit jewishphilly.org/hummusthemovie to purchase tickets.


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