Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Singles in Jerusalem (continued) - סרוגים

YNET entitles their article about "Srugim" as "Sex and the holy city." The article itself isn't bad, but to put "sex" in the title is simply poor taste, considering the show (as explained to me by Laizy, the director), had to be "clean enough" for an 8 year old. Then again...we'll have to see as the show progresses. (Our 8 year old's aren't watching it regardless)
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.

"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)
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?

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.

"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."

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.

Good Luck Laizy -- we're rooting for you!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Lurker said...

YNET entitles their article about "Srugim" as "Sex and the holy city." The article itself isn't bad, but to put "sex" in the title is simply poor taste, considering the show (as explained to me by Laizy, the director), had to be "clean enough" for an 8 year old.

But the article says that "Sex and the Holy City" was actually the original title of the show. And Shapiro says straight out that the show will, in fact deal with sex:

Even after giving up on the original title, "Sex and the Holy City," Shapira -– a graduate of the Ma'ale School of Television, Film and the Arts –- admits that sex could not be avoided in a TV series dealing with religious people's sentimental life, simply because it happens.
"I couldn’t ignore the sex issue in the series because I would be ignoring reality. It exists, and I was really scared by these scenes, causing anxieties among the actors as well. The scenes I was most afraid of were those which included innuendos of sex and contact, because in the Israeli series and films the sex is extremely brutal and I wanted to do something else.
"At a certain stage there is a scene which we know will end with sex, and it was eventually gentle and charming. There is something pretty special in the fact that you can see such things in a series on religious people."

I don't know if that squares so well with being "'clean enough' for an 8 year old". (Then again, your average 8-year-old is exposed to some pretty raunchy stuff these days.)

Sounds like it's time for an exclusive Muqata interview to get the straight dope...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another reason to become chareidi.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

shmerel: And that is? To avoid hearing women say kiddush?

Anonymous said...

No Jameel. But you knew that anyway ;) Look, every kehilla has it's problems, but I'd take ours over yours any day.

פייגא דבורה said...

I met my husband after davening at a Katamon "singles" shul so don't knock it..

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Faigey: Tell that to shmerel!

Anonymous said...

It's the self-inflicted problems I am bemoaning, not the ad-hoc solutions. Why are you being so defensive?

Anonymous said...

I was walking around Azrieli in Tel Aviv last night and was quite surprised by the number of girls wearing skirts - including those working in the food court.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm... the very first episode had a guy sleeping over at the girl's apartment. While the show did not clarify what did or did not happen between them, raising the issue was enough.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jerry: Its a real life issue...and raising it in a cirvumented way is in good taste (in my opinion).

Shmerel: Defensive? You were bemoaning it...

chardal said...


It's not a reason to become chareidi. Maybe a reason to become chardal. :)

Esther Kustanowitz said...

It will shock no one that I'm impressed by and interested in this show, and looking forward to seeing as many episodes as I can while I'm in Israel.

A while ago, someone I know remotely was trying to do a show for NBC about Morningside Heights and the intersection of all the clergy schools up there--I imagine the UWS singles scene would have figured prominently.

But more importantly, if anyone does a show about Jewish singles, I certainly hope I'd be on the shortlist of writers...

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