Monday, February 27, 2012

A London Kosher Hotel Receptionist Engages Guests in Religious Banter

(A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We regret that we had to remove the photo and film clip from this post because the filmmaker requested that we do so.)

And now for something completely different. How would you like to be a fly on the wall at a small kosher hotel in London's heavily Jewish Golders Green neighborhood?

A new cute video called My Kosher Shifts lets you play just such a role, watching the passing parade of Sheitel and Shtreimel wearers entering the hotel lobby and engaging in conversation with Iris, hotel's receptionist. Iris is a secular Hebrew-speaking Israeli native who enjoys small talk with mostly very orthodox guests who are checking in or asking for hotel services.

Some of the conversation centers around why women cover their hair and why they have to wear modest dress. While this description may sound mundane, the questions and answers offer some insight into cultural differences between orthodox and secular Jews.  

Iris Zaki, a graduate of London's Brunel University, won first prize with this film in the inaugural Open City London Documentary Festival in the My Street category, dedicated to finding the best short film about the maker's neighborhood or community.

The film was based on her experiences working as a receptionist at the Chasidic Jewish hotel shown in North London. The short film was made as part of her MA dissertation, and she hopes to gain funding to extend it into a feature length documentary.  Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)