Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?
To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies?
Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.”
“Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the whole thing and not take ourselves so seriously.”
The pilot episode, “The Setup” won Best Short at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, and has garnered more than 70,000 hits on Youtube.
The plot involves a case of mistaken identity. Sarah Feldman (Sara Scur) is an artsy young woman who loves to paint and hits it off with rabbinical student, David (Danny Hoffman) as they recite Henry Thoreau and flirt fluidly. But law student Ben (Nathan Shapiro) arrives, and it becomes clear that David got the wrong Sarah and moves to his table with his real date — Sarah Jacobs (Gottfried), a seemingly ditsy young woman who orders an entire bottle of wine while David heads to the bathroom.
Gottfried, who lives in New Jersey, is single, said she knows some guys are not ready to date an actress.
“Some guys might be threatened by it, but it doesn’t bother me personally just because people like that are not what I am looking for anyways so it helps weed people out,” she said.
On the show, Ben is dismissive of Sara’s artistic aspirations.
“People who trivialize the dreams of others are pretty awful,” says Shapiro, 27.
Scur, like her observant character, doesn’t work on Saturday. But it’s not because she’s Jewish. The 23-year-old, who lives in Brooklyn, is a Seventh-day Adventist. On the show, her character goes out with Ben a second time even though she’s not that into him. She said people don’t always make the best impression on the first date.
Hoffman, 29, is married and admits that his character is better at citing things that are poetic than he would be.
The second episode, “The Follow Up,” introduces Noa (Jessica Schechter) who is a detail-oriented friend of Sarah Jacobs and Z (Noam Harary) a zany guy who has a bro-mance with David and may be looking for a romance with Noa.
“I hope people will fall in love with these characters, be able to relate to their journey, and learn to laugh in the most positive way about the crazy/awkward/awesome journey that is dating in the Modern Orthodox world,” says Schechter, 28, who lives on the Upper West Side, is single, and is a producer of the show.
In creating the show, Gottfried allowed sponsors to have in-show placement such as Shabbat.com. She is speaking to different companies to obtain funding for additional episodes.
“The biggest thing is to not feel alone and know there are other people going through this,” Gottfried said, explaining what she hopes viewers will take away from the show.. “It’s going to be okay and to laugh when bad dates happen.”