Reviewed by Ilana Novick
Watch out! It’s Jews Gone Wild! In Melanie Zoey Weinstein’s Sex and the Holy Land, Lili (Weinstein) travels to Israel with her two best friends, hoping for adventure, knowledge, a connection with Jewish History, and and—hopefully, —and orgasm. She’s hounded—in her head, at least—by a chorus of Jewish mothers (pitch-perfect Yiddish accents from Susan Slatin, Michelle Slonim, and Goldie Zweibel), much to the dismay of her good friends Orr (Sarah Doe Osborne) and Chaya (Ruby Joy), who worry that she’ll spoil their fun. Instead, despite the insight, in-jokes (like the “Jew-Bu”), and “in all seriousness” moments (Or may be pregnant, Chaya wanted to go to Israel to come to terms with the death of her father), Sex and the Holy Land spoils itself by focusing on the forced drama of three reasonably privileged girls. It’s a bit indulgent, given the background.
The characters go a long way, too, from hiking in the Negev to trying to hook-up with soldiers; from praying for a deceased parent to attempting to live up to the ideals of one’s parents. The atmosphere doesn’t fare as well: a bench and blankets serve as a plane, a beach, the Western Wall, army barracks, and more. In that light, it’s hard to make out the duality of this land as a party town and a minefield, a country with its own privilege, yet a strong current of hardship borne of religious conflict. Sex and the Holy Land manages to capture the inner conflicts of these girls, but not the complexity of the country.
Sex and The Holy Land (2 hours, one intermission)
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