Monday, 9 March 2015

Video review - Jewvangelist

Rabbi Leah Levy, the Jewvangelist

Jewvangelist is an ultra-short mini-series published on Youtube. It follows a young rabbi whose congregation is leaving in droves. Rabbi Leah Levy is in despair when her synagogue, Beth Shalom privately owned by her mother (no, I'm not sure how realistic this is) faces closure unless she can increase her numbers. In a desperate bid to rejuvenate her congregation, she decides to become a 'Jewvangelist' and convert people.

Evil Rabbi Asher Levy steals Leah's congregants - mwahahahahahahahaha
The bumbling Rabbi goes first to the Mormons and then to an evangelical Christian church for lessons in how to proselytise. Nothing goes according to plan, especially when interfered with by the Rabbi's evil rabbi brother, Asher, who is poaching her congregants to his rival synagogue, Beth Emmanuel. Asher may or may not be the Devil. He certainly has the mwahahahahaha laugh down pat.

The handsome Christian minister who wins Leah's heart

Along the way, Rabbi Levy makes friends, saves marriages, persuades a redneck preacher to give up his homophobia and be reunited with his gay son, finds love with a Christian pastor, and almost incidentally, acquires a number of new adherents for Beth Shalom.

Fiction should never preach, and the show adheres well to this standard. But although no one ever lectures anyone, over the course of the series we are given subtle lessons against homophobia, racism and religious bigotry, and the whole show generally, without ever making an overt statement, celebrates inclusivity.

The production is very nicely done; well acted, smoothly produced and altogether a professional piece of work. Most importantly, it's funny as hell, utterly hilarious. I particularly liked the format; the tiny episodes, averaging 12 minutes, are ideal for the full-on comic content. There's no flagging of the momentum and no stuffing in 'filler' for cheap laughs as one all too often finds in half-hour comedy shows. Altogether a great piece of work, and I certainly hope there will be more from this very talented team.

The series can be viewed HERE.

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