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He impulsively suggests he and Leah marry and maintain a secretly platonic relationship in Washington, D. Leah gladly accepts as a means of finally pursuing her own dreams of independence and a college education without offending her very traditional and domineering mother.

As the film opens, Jake Lever (Kaufman), a 30-year-old Jewish cardiologist in Washington, D.

C, gets a phone call telling him his brother Benjamin, a Brooklyn Hasidic rabbi, has died unexpectedly.

Jake and his mother are not religious and both have largely lost touch with Benjamin over the years as Ben became religious and, later, a rabbi.

Jake and his mother travel to Brooklyn for the funeral where they meet Ben’s widow, Leah, and Leah’s mother (played by Jewish comic actress Susie Essman, 53).

Co-star Adam Kaufman told me that Ambrose did a great deal of research among the Hasidic Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn in advance of the film’s production. She got great reviews in her Broadway debut in a 2006 revival of “Awake and Sing,” Jewish playwright Clifford Odets‘ (1906-1963) famous play about a Jewish family during the Great Depression.

I strongly suspect that Ambrose’s husband, photographer Sam Handel, is Jewish, but I haven’t been able to confirm this yet.Best of all, there is actress Lauren Ambrose, 30, in the title role.Ambrose, best known for her role as Claire Fisher, the daughter on the television show Six Feet Under, is a truly gifted actress who gives a nuanced and luminous performance as Leah.Her classic WASPy blonde looks and the way in which Jake has to explain a few Jewish customs to her leads one to that conclusion.To the telefilm’s credit, Carol is not depicted as insensitive or unreasonable.The fact that Carol is not Jewish is not addressed in the script.

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