HomeNewsBusinessCultureHealthVideoShalomPagesClassifiedsForums

Bob Marley's Granddaughter Visits Israel

Donisha sat down with Shalom Life to reveal the parallels between Rastafari and Judaism.
By: Helen Hatzis
Published: February 17th, 2010 in Culture » Film » Interviews
Donisha PrendergastPic: Scarlett Media
Donisha with Ras Daniel and crewPic: Scarlett Media
Donisha at a studio in IsraelPic: Scarlett Media

This past weekend, in recognition of Black History Month, Shalom Life had the opportunity to chat with Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of reggae legend Bob Marley.

Her visit to Toronto was to share news of a documentary in production called Rasta, a project that delves into the movement that inspired her grandfather to write some of his most powerful songs. Her journey takes the audience to the Rastafarian communities in Canada, Africa, India, Jamaica, England and Israel, gaining insight while recognizing the strong parallels between cultures.

In Israel, her journey introduced her to Kibbutz Tze’elim (“Jamaica in the desert”), located in the northern Negev. “I didn’t expect to see Rastas in Israel – who would have thought?” shared Donisha. In 1986, Bob Marley performed in Eshkol Park in a reggae festival called “Voice from the Third World,” a milestone event that transformed some of the residents of the kibbutz to adopt the ways of Rasta culture. Eventually, the remaining members of the Kibbutz followed suit.

“Jews and Rastas, how are we similar?” wondered Donisha. At this point, she revealed a Star of David that she was wearing on a long chain necklace. “This is the Star of David. It is one of the main symbols of Rastafari, but it’s one of the main symbols in Judaism as well.” She realized the uncanny parallel and needed to investigate it further. In her search, she quickly discovered that Rastafari indeed mirrored Judaism, in more ways than one. She went on to outline the humble way of life her fellow Rastafarians in Israel lived their diet and shared family values. “So it all started to make sense as to why there were Rasta’s in Israel.” And when she questioned the residents of Kibbutz Tze’elim about being a Rasta, they responded with, “Reggae music brought it to us. When we heard the music, there was something about it that we identified with and we didn’t know what it was, and when we saw Bob Marley with the dreadlocks and symbols [Star of David], we recognized a kinship and began to lock [dreadlock] our hair.” And although the inhabitants of the kibbutz have adopted and drawn inspiration from an aspect of the Rasta lifestyle – one love and unity- they do not worship Emperor Halle Selassie, the Second Advent.

Emperor Halle Selassie, born Ras Tafari Makonnen, is a direct descendant from Makeda, the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon of ancient Israel. He granted 500 acres in Sheshamane, Ethiopia as a gesture of acknowledgement to the disapora to return and make a life in their homeland. This land was gifted in 1948, the same year the State of Israel was established. Unfortunately, few have made the journey to Sheshamane and even fewer have settled there, whereas approximately six millions Jews have returned to Israel to date. “The similarities were startling at first. I couldn’t understand if the Jews borrowed it from us or if we borrowed it from them. I didn’t know, but what I realized is that we are all brothers and sisters.

“As production continues, I am still learning, discovering. There is a facet of Rastafari called the Twelve Tribes that I’m still searching to understand what they are all about, and I hope to return to Israel, as there are a lot of Ethiopian Jews. I must go back.”

To date, Rastas have been residing in Israel for approximately 25 years. As Donisha continues her journey to unearth her roots, she shares the message of her late grandfather Bob Marley who is beloved worldwide.

To learn more or to support the documentary Rasta please visit www.Rastaonline.ca

Related articles:
19 times
Did You Know They're Jewish?

10 stars you didn't know were members of the tribe.

Jonathan Keltz and his Canadian Prom

We chat with the star of Disney’s "Prom" about the movie, his own prom and his role on the hit show "Entourage."

Helen Zukerman Shares TJFF’s Five Must-see Movies

The TJFF executive director shares her festival picks in this exclusive interview.

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Rachelle Lefevre

Barney's Version and Off The Map star, Rachelle Lefevre, sits down with ShalomLife.

Robert Lantos Tells His Story

Canadian producer speaks candidly at event organized by UJA's Entertainment & Media Division

Inside Hana’s Suitcase Premieres on CBC

We interview George and Lara Brady to talk about the documentary and a new interactive project.

Did You Know They're Jewish?

10 stars you didn't know were members of the tribe.

Jonathan Keltz and his Canadian Prom

We chat with the star of Disney’s "Prom" about the movie, his own prom and his role on the hit show "Entourage."

Helen Zukerman Shares TJFF’s Five Must-see Movies

The TJFF executive director shares her festival picks in this exclusive interview.

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Rachelle Lefevre

Barney's Version and Off The Map star, Rachelle Lefevre, sits down with ShalomLife.

Robert Lantos Tells His Story

Canadian producer speaks candidly at event organized by UJA's Entertainment & Media Division

Inside Hana’s Suitcase Premieres on CBC

We interview George and Lara Brady to talk about the documentary and a new interactive project.

news_scroll_down
Theo's Thoughts: Take Responsibility for

The 19 year old sophomore sat on the exam table looking at the floor. A college student with obvious charm and kindness, she appeared withdrawn and shy. Covering her face

Health, Beauty & Politics: The

In 1971, researchers set up a prison in the basement of Stanford University's Psychology Department. The idea was to observe how 24 undergraduate students would behave when divided into

Laying down the law: Volunteering

So we now have officially been in Dharamsala for two weeks. Time goes by so fast! After getting over the initial sickness and getting used to the constant rain, things

From a different angle: Why

Foreign Minister Lieberman's plan to assist the Gaza Strip in becoming an independent entity has encountered wall-to-wall Palestinian opposition. The dual-headed Palestinian regime in Ramallah (Fatah) and in the Gaza

Totally Hillel: The Best Newsletter

Over the years it's become our tradition to pick 'the best of the best' travel tips our readers submitted over the last year. It's always such a hard job to

Share This Story With Your Friends!

Your Name:

Friend's Name:

E-Mail:

Friend's E-Mail:

(This information will not be displayed publicly)

Optional Message: