Mendel says Sonia's birthstone is the ruby, this would make her birthdate somewhere in July. See more »
After the bris (circumcision ceremony), Mendel apologizes to Sonia for naming their son Shimmie "after the Rebbe." Shimmie is a nickname for Shim'on (Simon). However, the Rebbetzin (the Rebbe's wife) calls her husband Moishe. Also, at the eulogy for the Rebbe, the speaker refers to the him as "our own Moishe Rabbenu," clearly making a connection between him (and his name) and the prophet Moses. See more »
Having come from a similar background to the main character, Sonia Horowitz, I was able to empathize with her plight. Although there is much to be admired in the world of Orthodox Judaism, and Hasidism in particular, it is a community with a narrow, ethnocentric perspective with little latitude for behavior outside the philosophical norm. Many in the community who strive to exceed the acceptable boundaries find themselves isolated and ostracized for their non-conformal attitude. Sonia's journey, though not typical, had some of the elements I have personally experienced.
I must note, however, that the sexual intercourse scene between Sonia and Mendel, where they perform the act fully clothed, is not technically correct. Jewish law actually expects that the couple be completely unclothed. It places the burden upon the husband to satisfy his wife to the best of his ability. I realize to what purpose the scene was done the way it was, but it incorrectly portrayed a very private and sacred part of Jewish life.
I was deeply affected by this independent film targeted to a fairly limited audience. Renee Zellweger, a Catholic/Episcopalian Texas native, turned in a remarkable performance, and got many of the nuances right, as did many of the other performers.
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