South of Broadway
Poised at the intersection of tradition and modernity, "South of Broadway" examines life inside a Jewish community in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. The highly insular group of Orthodox Jews who call this area home form a devoutly religious enclave with its own distinctive style of dress and strict codes regulating everything from diet to eye contact.
Despite the clamour of New York City, these are a people who have proudly chosen to live by their own beliefs, irrespective of those around them. Yet membership into this brotherhood comes at a cost. Members of the community typically live and work within its boundaries and follow “an unofficial rule that you don’t talk to outsiders,” in the words of Ari Hershkowitz, one teen brave enough to speak with me.
The community now finds itself at a pivotal moment. As the glittering screens of modernity reach into their world in a way ‘the outside’ rarely has before, its youngest members face new choices. Venturing out, theirs is the struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity in new social terrain. A revised, modern take on Hasidism beckons: “Watch this space,” Ari’s actions say.