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When his estranged brother dies suddenly, Jake Lever is confronted with an old Jewish custom. In days past, a man was expected to marry his deceased brother's childless widow, but it is now customary to perform a ceremony releasing the pair from the obligation. During the Halizah ceremony, Jake feels uncomfortable renouncing his brother's memory. Additionally, Leah wishes to escape the confines of her orthodox community and avoid her mother's matchmaking. On the spur of the moment, Leah and Jake decide to enter into a platonic marriage of convenience. Written by
There is no Cambridge Street in Georgetown. And there is no Reform temple in Georgetown. In fact, there is no Reform congregation called "Temple Torah" anywhere in the Greater Washington area. Ironically, the only synagogue in Georgetown is Orthodox. Leah would have loved it. In addition, there is no Metro (subway) stop in Georgetown so Leah could not have taken the Metro to the Dupont Circle station. She would have walked it. See more »
Give them credit for originality and good research
My wife and I are Orthodox Jews addicted to the Perry Mason of our childhood. We couldn't resist watching Hallmark's presentation of levirate marriage, or yibum, but never expected we could stomach more than 20 minutes of it.
The writers and directors certainly get credit for coming up with an original plot device to create romantic tension and resolution. This is Hallmark, after all, and we didn't expect all the dramatic unities to be observed, but we were pleased at the overall high quality of the research, writing and acting. There are Orthodox men who make a living outside the rabbinate, and non-Orthodox Jewish men who aren't cardiac surgeons, but avoiding these clichés might been too distracting.
The mystical / romantic motivation was never made quite reasonable, but much worse was the simple fact that marriages religious and secular require sexual consummation in order to be valid. The whole point of yibum is that the wife should get pregnant with her brother-in-law's child and therefore continue her dead husband's family and name. Such a beginning would have ruined the plot and perhaps run afoul of Hallmark's standards and practices.
One may quibble about this or that presentation of Jewish religious practice, but on the whole this movie did a good and conscientious job with remarkable few cringe-inducing mistakes. In the end it worked as a romantic comedy/drama which held our attention to the end.
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