Film poster for "Hava Nagila" with woman being raised on chair.
Film poster for "Hava Nagila" with woman being raised on chair.
The song you thought you knew. The story you won't believe


Regular price $459.00


RECOMMENDED - Video Librarian | "Infectiously high-spirited" - NPR | 40+ Jewish Film Festivals

Jewish Studies • Jewish History • History • Music • Music History • Musicology 

Date of Completion: 2012 | Run Time: 73 minutes Language: English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript  Director: Roberta Grossman | Producers: Roberta Grossman, Marta Kauffman, Lisa Thomas, and Sophie Sartain

It's to music what the bagel is to food – a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan sang it. Elvis, too. And that’s only the beginning when it comes to Hava Nagila. Follow the infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de‐sacs of America in this hilarious and surprisingly deep film. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more, HAVA NAGILA (The Movie) takes viewers from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village, Hollywood – and even Bollywood – using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.

Video Librarian
"Entertaining film with a quirky interviewee list."

NPR | Ella Taylor, freelance film critic 
"Infectiously high-spirited."

Jewish Journal | Elyse Glickman
"Documentary filmmaker has a 'Hava Nagila' in her heart."

Newsday | John Anderson
"So much fun. You don't have to be Jewish to love Hava Nagila."

This Week in New York
"Fascinating! A fun and fanciful frolic."

Fox 5, San Diego | Josh Board, member of the San Diego Film Critics Society
"Humorous and enjoyable!"

HAVA NAGILA screened as the opening or closing film of over 40 Jewish film festivals and won the Audience award at many of them.


Roberta Grossman speaks to students and communities about Jewish history and documentary filmmaking as a tool for social justice. Grossman received the 2018 Washington Jewish Film Festival’s Annual Visionary Award, which recognizes “creativity and insight in presenting the full diversity of the Jewish experience through the moving image.” In the past ten years, she has directed and produced four feature documentaries about Jewish history and culture – BLESSED IS THE MATCH (2008); HAVA NAGILA (The Movie) (2012); ABOVE AND BEYOND (2014), WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY (2018), and RECKONINGS (2022). Grossman’s work also deals with women’s rights in SEEING ALLRED (2018), and Native American history and contemporary struggles in 500 NATIONS (1995), HOMELAND: FOUR PORTRAITS OF NATIVE ACTION (2005) and ISHI'S RETURN (2018). Grossman is a three-time recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is the co-founder of the non-profit production company Katahdin Productions. She received her undergraduate degree with honors in history at UC Berkeley and her M.A. in film from the American Film Institute.