At the age of 32, Laizy Shapira is still single. It wouldn’t be so crucial if he were a professional Tel Avivian, but Shapira is a religious man who lives in Jerusalem and leads his sentimental life there, passionately claiming that the capital is the perfect place for a religious pick-up, just like Tel Aviv is the capital of secular pick-up.Last night I was thinking; was this show just a "Jewish/Israeli" version of "Friends" or "Seinfeld"? It could have been, but isn't -- it's much more serious and introspective, and not written as a comedy. Would such a show even work in the US, based on the Upper West Side, Jewish Singles Scene -- if there wasn't a laughtrack constantly running throughout the show?
"Jerusalem for the religious is like Tel Aviv for the seculars," he explained. "A religious person over the age of 20 who has yet to marry will find himself there. Shavuot, for example, is one of the greatest bachelorhood holidays, when everyone goes on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to the synagogues and our entertainment centers.
"In Jerusalem, by the way, you can find a larger number of girls wearing pants, you will find much more pluralism. It's really different from the image you have of it. It's just like Tel Aviv, with coffee shops, kosher bars and synagogues which are the center of our scene.
"On Fridays you can see large gatherings of people outside the fashionable synagogues, talking and flirting with each other, and a lot of sparkles in the air." (Rest available here)
This show works for Israel, but I don't know if it would for the US...even though I'm sure it would have as much (if not more) source material available...
Laizy based lots of show on the real life experiences of him and his friends.
And why shouldn't he make a TV series, if it gets him a shidduch? FrumSatire's trying to do the same thing with HIS blog.
"My series is the most reliable religious thing I've seen on the screen. Every time religious people are presented on the screen, the skullcap is in the wrong angle or the text doesn’t make sense. I was strict with every single detail. Even the skullcaps were knitted by my niece."He may deny it, but Shapira created the series mainly for himself, and perhaps in order to meet new girls. The majority of the "Srugim" plot is derived directly from his daily life as a 32-year-old bachelor who has gone on dozens of dates but has yet to find the one.
This may sound like a plot for another of the dating series sweeping the screen, but in Shapira's world this is a real crisis rather than romantic caprices.
"I have gone on many dates over the past decade," he says, "and after turning 30 my parents lost hope. They show a lot of support for what is happening to me now, but manage not to mention the wedding issue. They know I'm working on it."
Good Luck Laizy -- we're rooting for you!
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד