An Open Letter To Hollywood Producers From An Orthodox Jew

An Open Letter To Hollywood Producers From An Orthodox Jew


Hey Hollywood producers and directors: We Orthodox Jews are not just the punchlines to your jokes. Try meeting us and learning about our nuances.




  1. Hi Allison!

    Thank you so much for this post. Although I am not Jewish (I’m catholic) I deeply respect the Jewish faith and there is a large Jewish community here in South Florida. I’m actually taking a course on Jewish history. I’ve met many Orthodox Jews who are absolutely lovely, caring, and very intelligent people, and I really admire how you stand up for your community and your people. I definitely agree that the depiction of Jews in Hollywood is very disrespectful. I hope they get the message.

    Good luck and God Bless

  2. Hello. Lets be fair. Just so you know (even though you probably already do,) we non-Orthodox Jews are often the punchline or butt of jokes when we spend time with Orthodox Jews.
    I have one Jewish grandparent. Mom’s mom. For years I have gone through phases of wondering if I want to live a more Orthodox Jewish life. So, I go to Chabad houses. I learn a lot there; they are good teachers. But, there’s no doubt, we newcomers and unlearned Jews get made fun of and snickered at once in awhile. I try to take it lightly, because we must seem very absurd and awkward sometimes to more observant Jews who have gotten a lot of Torah learning. Plus, when we make efforts to become more religious and “be Jewish” we take it so seriously! It’s hard not to be too serious, hard to relax, when you are in a religious shul or religious home and you’ve pretty much forever lived a secular life.

    Come on, admit it, you all make jokes about us sometimes. Knowing Jewish people, the jokes are probably hilarious. Maybe once in awhile we can laugh with you…

    • Rabbi Jack Abramowitz : May 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      I’m not going to say it’s never happened – your experience is your experience, after all – but in 25 years of outreach work, I have never seen a non-Orthodox Jew as the butt of jokes, especially if it’s someone trying to learn and grow. That’s both in public, say at a Shabbaton, and behind closed doors. In my experience, I have never heard outreach professionals discussing how “stupid” or “clueless” someone is, only how much they’ve grown or how hard they’re working, etc.

      • I agree with Rabbi Jack. I converted more than 10 years ago. Since I started the process I was NEVER in a situation wherein Jews – observant or not – treated others badly, only on the contrary. I was met with supportive and kind people all the way !

  3. Does Ushpizin count as Hollywood or is it other? And what about Loving Leah? It seemed ok.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs : September 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      “Ushpizin” is other because is was made by Orthodox Jews. Same thing with “Fill the Void.” I didn’t see “Loving Leah” but the entire premise of the movie was based on yibum which is not practiced today so that it a pretty serious error!

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Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.