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.

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  • Avatar photo Melissa says on May 2, 2014

    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

  • Avatar photo Dan says on May 2, 2014

    Hi Jew in the City,

    Thank you, for your great blog. But I have To say that there are also a lot of shows that show orthodox jews in a positive way familiar AnD warm. Maybe the reason that i think so is that here where i live (berlin, germany) are just a few thausandt jews and its very very rare that somebody talk ab out jews (especially talks Bad ab out jews) .But A few years ago Heer was a big Debate ab out the Boris milah At jewish boys and i was shocked what discusting thiks people think ab out jewish traditions things like we love To hurt Tour children and that we celebrate the males and orthodox women has no Role in judaism. Sorry my english

    Dan From berlin

  • Avatar photo Sarah says on May 3, 2014

    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…

    • Avatar photo Rabbi Jack Abramowitz says on May 5, 2014

      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.

      • Avatar photo chaya says on June 29, 2014

        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 !

  • Avatar photo Elishva says on September 5, 2014

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

    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on September 5, 2014

      “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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