A version of this post appeared in Yiddish here.
Three short Yiddish films created by students at the Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts, an Orthodox film school in Jerusalem, have recently become available for rental on the Internet, sparking interest from fans of Yiddish cinema worldwide.
Many of the Ma’aleh students’ films explore sensitive issues in the Israeli Orthodox world as well as in Israeli society at large. A number of them, including the three Yiddish films, have been screened at film festivals and received awards in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Because Ma’aleh is a school for religiously observant Israelis, the three films — “Cohen’s Wife,” “Elyokim” and “A-Maiseh” — contain no nudity, gratuitous violence or coarse language. Yet despite the fact that the filmmakers at Ma’aleh hail from religious homes, the actors are all secular, said the school’s director of international relations and special projects, Einat Kapach. “The actors are willing to do it for low pay or no pay at all, because they appreciate the courage of the filmmakers in taking on these subjects.”