Rabbi Elli Meyer, better known as the King of Broadway, is an actor (The Sopranos, Law & Order, New York, I Love You) and a Hasidic consultant for casting and production companies. He’s also a real honest-to-goodness Hasid. (And he’s the reason that I wound up guest-starring on The Good Wife last year.) He just IM’d me this photo — of an immaterial rabbi being directed by a Material Girl:
Here’s the story behind it, courtesy of Rabbi Elli himself.
I was asked by a casting company to help them find people to portray the Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg to submit for the upcoming feature film W.E, which–I learned–was being directed by Madonna.
She was involved in every aspect of the film, from choosing the 14 Hasidic BG [background actors, or extras] from the first submissions down to an inspection of ALL background on set the day of the shoot. Madonna was also right there on set with the actors, walking the path of the shoot and giving instruction to individuals in the scene–when to look at the main character and what reactions to have. It was quite an experience.
I must also compliment the Hasidim for their exemplary behavior on set since, for many of them, this was their first ever exposure to film making which can be long and tedious. All in all the day was definitely a Kiddush HaShem
That last Hebrew part is particularly relevant — so many movies and TV shows, from A Stranger among Us to the heinous A Price above Rubies, have stereotyped Hasidim as anything from aliens to perverts. Saying that Ms. Ciccone’s film is a Kiddish HaShem is basically tantamount to saying she’s portraying them — well, us — with reality and respect. Kudos, Madge.
Pronounced: khah-SID-ik, Origin: Hebrew, a stream within ultra-Orthodox Judaism that grew out of an 18th-century mystical revival movement.
Pronounced: KID-ush, Origin: Hebrew, literally holiness, the blessing said over wine or grape juice to sanctify Shabbat and holiday.