Idol Chatter

There’s a people in this country clamoring for wholesome but engaging entertainment that speaks their language and addresses the concerns of their Scripture-based lifestyle. I refer, of course, to haredi Jews–the fervently observant, sometimes called ultra-Orthodox. At last, they are getting a movie of their own. Shot in Monsey–a New York ex-urb and one of the major hubs of Orthodox life–“A Gesheft” (“The Deal”) is said by its producers to be the first completely Yiddish-speaking movie to made in the United States since the once thriving Yiddish-language film industry collapsed some 60 years ago.

“We decided that religious Jews needed their own movies far from the dangerous influence of Hollywood,” explains a press release from Mendy and Yakov Kirsh, who make up Kosher Entertainment. What’s so kosher about it? Though full of drama, car-crashes, and lots of dudes in traditional black hats and topcoats, the movie has no women, out of respect for Orthodox rules restricting men from being entertained by the opposite sex. The unisex cast is not as striking, however, as the total dedication to the tongue of Eastern European Jewry: Even an African-American cop speaks his one line in Yiddish. The filmmakers are looking to make a tour of festivals later this year.

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