Kosher Love, an offbeat look at courting and marriage in the Chassidic tradition, has been nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Program.
The film, which aired on CBC last year, focuses on the matchmaking efforts of CJN columnist and Montreal Chabad Rabbi Yisroel Bernath. Made by Montreal-based Bunbury Films Inc., Kosher Love is directed by Evan Beloff and produced by Frederic Bohbot.
In its Jan. 16 announcement of the nominees, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which administers the annual awards, introduces Kosher Love this way: “What happens when a rabbinical matchmaker, a newly-married, young Hasidic couple and a single, religious hip-hop artist explore the precise meaning of humanity’s most powerful word? Kosher Love looks at the search for true love and Bible-instructed marriage in the Orthodox/Hasidic world.”
Kosher Love is competing against four other nominees in its category. The winners will be announced in the week leading up to the academy’s gala on March 11 in Toronto.
Rabbi Bernath, who is spiritual director of the Rohr Chabad NDG and an associate chaplain at Concordia University, is credited in the film with making 53 successful matches using an unhurried method that he believes is sanctioned by God. Marriage to him is sacred and has little to do with secular society’s emphasis on shallow romance.
The film has a humorous, even quirky, tone that makes it appealing to many.
It features one of his matches, Miriam Leah and Michael Gamiel, who are not from very observant backgrounds and were not so young when they were introduced. He proposed on their second date and they are portrayed in the film as living a happy Jewish family life.
It also stars hip-hop performer YoNatan, who, at 33, is still reluctant to settle down and is attracted to women only by their looks.
Beloff said that making the film was a way of exploring his own on-and-off relationship with religion and the challenges of finding the right mate.
Bohbot posted on Bunbury’s Facebook page, saying, “Congrats to the whole team and thank you again to Yisroel Bernath, YoNatan, Miriam Leah and Michael Gamiel for sharing a moment of their lives with us.”
He said that Kosher Love can still be viewed on the CBC’s website.