Quirky, young(ish) L.A. rabbi Leah Levy (Becky Kramer) just can’t get God’s chosen people of Boyle Heights to show up for Shabbat. When a klutzy Mormon missionary on a bicycle wipes her out, she decides to do what no Jew has done before (OK, except Jesus): evangelize.
Bright, fast-paced, smartly written indie web series Jewvangelist follows Leah’s attempts to gain wisdom from the masters of proselytizing, including the Mormons, evangelicals and more, so she can get butts in seats before her mother closes the doors of the family synagogue for good.
When Kramer first came up with the character of Leah, she was warned to steer clear of religion in her work. But a friend working in TV development, Kaitlin Walsh, loved the idea for the digital space. Walsh came on board as executive producer, brought on Christian Ayers to write the show, and used her production experience to stretch the $8,733 raised on Kickstarter to fund an hour of content that looks as good as anything on TV.
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Kramer grew up as the only Jewish kid in her St. Petersburg, Florida, neighborhood, but she always felt accepted by her churchgoing peers. Her friends would call her every night of Hanukkah to see what she’d received, and she attended many Sunday church services after Saturday night sleep-overs.
Explains Kramer in an interview, “To me, that’s part of the beauty of our show: It features a religious leader who goes to people of different religions to see what she can learn from them to make her own community stronger.”
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what’s worth watching online. You can watch Jewvangelist at jewvangelist.com. Read Stephanie Carrie’s full interview with Becky Kramer, Kaitlin Walsh and the rest of the creative team on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.