They're named Avi, Feishy, Mitch and Yechiel Michel Raphael Menachem (yep, that's his name), and they have big plans to build a new Orthodox Jewish community in Verplanck, an actual city in upstate NY with just a few hundred residents. The town locals have no clue what Orthodox Judaism or these newcomers are about.
Welcome to Verplanck
That's the story line behind "Verplanck", the new web comedy series that debuted with 3 episodes (4th coming soon) that follow the exploits of four heroes as they embark on a journey to create a new religious Jewish community away from it all. These urban dwellers plan to leave the high-priced, bustling city behind and move to the boonies where they face new challenges with camaraderie, determination and plenty of humor.
The main characters represent a multifaceted group of Orthodox Jews who, in real life, might have little to do with each other. So, they reason, what better way to promote Jewish unity than to build a new community from scratch? This likable core group of characters includes Mitch, who might be labeled as "left-center Orthodox"; Avi, representing the "right-center"; Feishy, the chassid; and Yechiel Michel Raphael Menachem, the yeshivish (hareidi) guy who insists on using all four of his names.
Why the need for a kosher comedy series?
Mechel Lieber, one of the creators of "Verplanck," said that when it comes to music or reading, there is much available for an Orthodox audience, but clean, kosher video for teens and adults is almost an untouched medium. "Yes, there are serious challenges when it comes to creating video entertainment," he said. "Nevertheless, the shortage of professional-quality, kosher video has left an enormous segment of the Jewish population turning almost exclusively to non-Jewish sources for entertainment. The results are very detrimental to our nation. Even the ‘best’ things available today from Hollywood don't meet minimum modesty requirements, and mostly promote ideologies at odds with Torah. There is little out there for a Jewish person to watch that's entertaining, with a positive message within Jewish moral guidelines."
Lieber and the rest of his "8Lasoat" [Heb. “Now is the time to act”] production team see the show as a kosher venue for entertainment for Jewish people. The content will always be appropriate. No parental supervision necessary. The show has very specific guidelines which were developed to conform to Jewish Law - regarding dress code and other issues.
The Verplanck cast
The show will nibble at serious issues affecting the Jewish world. Its humorous scenes will examine the clashes between the various ideologies within Jewish Orthodoxy, as well as the Orthodox Jew’s inter-relationships with his non-religious brethren and non-Jews. The show can be best categorized as a “dramedy” -- a blend of drama and comedy.
Lieber invites viewers to watch the first three episodes (best to view them in order) here bellow or on their website, www.NoKosherMeat.com.
So, if you enjoy the movies and believe in the mission, “don’t forget to click on the Facebook ‘Like’ button, Twitter it, and of course, sign up for our updates at www.NoKosherMeat.com,” says Lieber.