Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Jerusalem- When Israel’s version of the Emmy Awards were announced in late 2009, the mainly secular entertainment establishment received an unexpected jolt as “Srugim,” an off-beat series about the trials and tribulations of religious singles in Jerusalem was tabbed “Best Drama” on Israeli TV.
Ironically, “Srugim” (which means “knitted,” as in knitted or crocheted kippot) did not air on Israel’s three major commercial channels but on the increasingly popular YES satellite network.
To make matters even more interesting, “Srugim” was helmed by a first-time prime-time TV director, Eliezer “Lazy” Shapiro, the religious son of American parents who made aliyah from Philadelphia way back in 1969. Today, Shapiro makes his home in Karnei Shomron.
“Srugim” follows the story of five 30-something singles in Jerusalem, some of whom have been married and divorced, who find themselves increasingly frustrated by the local dating scene as well as the various social and religious boundaries they face as they grow older.
Shapiro discovered that “Srugim” touched a nerve with both religious and secular singles in Israeli society as well.
“A wide spectrum of Israel’s religious society reacted to the first season in an almost obsessive manner,” Shapiro told The Jewish Press.
“Some singles told us we had made a series that literally copied their lives, while more frum people, who aren’t supposed to have a TV to begin with, claimed we depicted things that were a chillul Hashem.
“We aspired to show all the characters with their flaws, because no one can identify with someone who’s perfect. Some of the characters go through religious crises and must deal with the boundaries of halacha. These things are real and happen every day.
“On the other side of the coin, the reaction from secular Jews was equally amazing. Many people told us we had shattered the stereotypes they grew up with about religious singles and discovered a whole new world, where the social mores and codes are different. Which is why some religious viewers told us we had actually created a kiddush Hashem for secular society.”
As the number of viewers grew along with positive reviews from TV critics, the YES programming department realized it had an unusual hit on its hands and immediately asked Shapiro and his production associates to start preparing for a second season. Filming on season two commenced last summer and ended in early September. YES will start airing the new episodes beginning next week.
Shapiro is proud of having broken stereotypes about religious singles in Israeli society while creating a fascinating TV series that has no need for provocative scenes to generate ratings.
“We have been able to create a popular series that still retains a bit of 1950s innocence, which is almost unheard of today,” he said.
“This is not to say we won’t deal with thought-provoking issues during the course of the second season. We will. As in any ongoing series, the characters become more dynamic and complicated. We deal with Jewish identity, relationships, the Ashkenazi-Sephardi cultural and religious mix, etc. I can tell you that by the end of the second season, one of the characters gets married.”
“Srugim” has had an impact on the actors who portray the various characters. Unlike Shapiro, nearly all the cast members are secular. Ohad Knoller, who plays Nati, a handsome doctor who has yet to understand his own emotions when it comes to relationships, said, “Israeli TV has never explored religious singles, which makes this series unique, so I’m actually not surprised it has become successful.
“I am secular, but through the Nati character I have been able to understand religious society.”
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.
I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”
His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.
At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning
Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
As of Tuesday, all IDF forces operating in Gaza withdrew and redeployed to holding positions around Gaza.
The sophisticated cement tunnels, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were reportedly built with Qatari government funds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation on Tuesday afternoon that if the rocket fire did not stop by Tuesday evening, he would order “an even harsher” military response.
“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/rookie-director-honored-for-religious-themed-israeli-tv-drama/2010/01/06/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: