May 28, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 28, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Soon by You’ Web Series Shares Joys and  Plights of the Modern Orthodox Dating Scene

For some of us who’ve been through it, it’ll be like taking a trip down memory lane. To those of us who have kids in the dating scene it’ll be a glimpse into what our kids go through. And to those of us just looking for a romcom with a Modern Orthodox angle, this will fit the bill. What meets all these criteria? “Soon by You,” a new web series by Passaic resident Leah Gottfried, an actress who not only stars in the series but is also the co-writer, co-producer and director.

The series actually began as a short film titled “The Setup,” which was screened at the NewFilmmakers New York Film Festival where it was the Audience Winner and at the Washington Jewish Film Festival where it won for Best Short. It was also a winner of the JFilm Robinson International short film competition.

In “The Setup” we meet David (played by Danny Hoffman), a rabbinic student who is running late for his blind date with a woman called Sarah. When he arrives at the restaurant he approaches the first table with a single woman and asks if she’s Sarah, never thinking to make sure she’s the right Sarah. Sure enough, when Sarah’s actual date shows up he switches tables. The problem is that he and the first Sarah really hit it off. The subsequent episodes track the progress of the budding relationship as well as introduce us to roommates and friends also in the scene trying to meet their basherts. Gottfried plays a well-coiffed and outwardly materialistic single named Sarah Jacobs, and Sara Scur plays Sarah Feldman, a sensitive artist, David’s eventual love interest.

Gottfried refers to the series as “Friends,” if the characters were Jewish, or “Srugim,” if they lived on the Upper West Side and spoke English. It’s a series that focuses on six Modern Orthodox Jewish singles as they navigate today’s dating scene.

According to Gottfried, “About two years ago I was binge-watching the Israeli series ‘Srugim,’ about the Israeli singles scene. I was impressed with the concept and began to think about how I could do something similar but about the Modern Orthodox dating scene in Manhattan. My friends would share their own dating stories with me and I had my own as well, and as a filmmaker I felt compelled to create the film which ultimately became ‘The Setup.’”

“For me it was really a wonderful opportunity,” Gottfried told The Jewish Link. “I’ve always wanted to create something that I could direct and act in.” Gottfried has been acting since a young age. In high school she wrote and directed a short film and after that she knew she wanted to be involved on both sides of the camera. She felt so passionate about this that when she was at Stern College she created the first shaped major in film studies.

Gottfried truly captures the dating scene: from the awkwardness of making conversation on a first date, to the follow-up phone call to hosting a singles’ Shabbat meal. The series is filmed on location, which also resonates with many viewers. Most of the cast are single themselves and two of the stars (Hoffman and Jessica Schechter) share producing credits with Gottfried for episodes two and three.

“I had no idea what the response would be,” says Gottfried. “I had an inkling it could be a series; that was my vision from the beginning. But only once it got into film festivals and I saw how people were responding to it, did I know it had to be a series.” Viewers kept coming up to Gottfried to ask what happens next and to tell her they have finally found a show they can relate to.

According to fan Yael Kaplan, “The stories portrayed in ‘Soon by You’ are so authentic and relatable. It’s like watching my life as a comedy. They put a funny spin on the struggles of being a Jewish single in New York.”

Chaya Gordon Drizin agrees. “Finally a show that accurately depicts Jewish religious life. You guys managed to create something that is both entertaining and authentic.”

Gottfried had been playing around with different possible names for the series. Then, one day, when she was at yet another family simcha listening to people come up to her and say “Soon by you” it just hit her that that had to be the name. “Nothing else even came close,” she shared. “It was perfect and I never looked back. People love the title. Now when people say it to me, my castmates and viewers, we think of the show and smirk (while of course appreciating their good intentions).”

At present there are five episodes planned but a lot has to do with funding. So far, sponsorships have been generous but they need more money to continue to film. The producers have put together a crowdfunding campaign on https://www.jewcer.org/project/soonbyyou/, a Jewish crowdfunding platform. All donations are tax deductible and donors will be thanked in various ways including dinner with cast members, t-shirts, signed posters and speaking roles in upcoming episodes.

For more information about the web series and for sponsorship information you can email [email protected] or visit the website at http://soonbyyou.tv/ or https://www.jewcer.org/project/soonbyyou/. To view the series visit the website, or you can view it on YouTube.

By Sara Kosowsky Gross

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles