Laizy Shapira, 32, spent his childhood in Philadelphia, where his father served as a shaliachof the Jewish Agency. After moving back to Karnei Shomron, he served in a Hesder programfor yeshiva studies combined with IDF service. Shapira graduated from Jerusalem's Ma'ale School of Television, Film and the Arts, the only communications production program in the country targeted towards observant Jews, when he was in his late 20s.
Professional doors began to open for Shapira in the years that followed, largely thanks to acclaim he received for two of his student projects, Eicha and Saving Private Finklestein,but he soon found himself struggling, with day jobs cleaning houses and giving tours at theKotel Tunnels and at the Davidson Archeological Park. But an association with producerYonatan Aroch eventually landed Shapira a deal to co-create, co-write (with long-time collaborator Chava Divon) and direct Srugim (literally, "knitted"), a surprise hit for Yes TV.
The show, which focuses on the lives of five central 30-something religious Jerusalemite bachelor and bachelorettes in a manner that is refreshing and clever, has taken Israeli pop culture by storm. When not attending screenings of episodes at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Shapira is working on plans to hopefully export a translated version of the show to North America and to possibly air Season One on Israel's Channel 2 this winter – all while developing ideas for Season Two, which should air by the end of 2009.