Last night I watched yet another great Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS. Really, I don't think I've ever seen a Hallmark movie I didn't love. They are such great, touching stories that really make you think about life and relationships.
This one was call "Loving Leah," and it was about a Hassidic Jewish girl whose Rabbi husband dies suddenly at a young age. They had no children together, so by a widely-unpracticed Jewish law, Leah was supposed to marry her husband's brother (as long as he was single). To get around this law, they had to perform a ceremony where Jake (who was not a practicing Jew) basically had to denounce his brother's existence. Jake just could not bring himself to do this, so he and Leah decided they would get married, and live as platonic roommates in D.C. Leah had never been away from the safety of her Brooklyn community, but was eager to take the SATs and go to college, starting a new life for herself. While living together (in separate bedrooms, of course), Leah and Jake surprise themselves by actually falling in love, even though Jake had a girlfriend of over a year. They came from very different lifestyles, and they, along with their families, had to give and take to fit into each other's worlds. Leah stopped wearing a wig to cover her hair. Jake started going to shul. Leah's mother began to accept that even though it wasn't with a very religious man, her daughter had found real love. And everyone lived happily ever after.
The movie was heart-warming and taught a lot about Jewish traditions and beliefs. It reminded us of the importance of family, and how things happen for a reason, even if it's hard to understand that reason right away. Leah and the Rabbi's marriage was set up by a family friend, and while they took care of each other and had a good life, true love just wasn't there. Leah always felt like something was missing from their marriage. When he died, she thought that marriage just wasn't for her, but through an almost forced, fake marriage with Jake, she found the love that was always missing.
The story definitely touched me, and reminded me how much I love Jewish traditions. As I've said in the past, I don't believe all that Judaism teaches, but I do love so many of the rituals and traditions, and the feeling of belonging in a community. While not being preachy or educational, the movie explained many of these traditions, and definitely cast Judaism in a positive light. It also showed that it doesn't matter if you are orthodox or reform, what kind of temple you attend or if you attend at all, if you keep Kosher or mix your meat and dairy, but what matters is how accepting you are of others and your ability to see beyond classifications and just love the one you love.
3 hours ago