Last year the cult web series “Soon by You” swept the Modern Orthodox world off its feet with a playful and perceptive insider’s take on the intricacies of dating in the close-knit community.
The show, set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, follows six Jewish singles as they juggle social, religious, and communal pressures on their journey to finding that ever-elusive true love — or at least someone who would agree on what type of school to send their future children to.
Those familiar with the words “soon by you” — a not-so-subtle “hurry up and make me some grandkids” folded into an ostensible phrase of well-wishing — welcomed the comedy as long-overdue.
Now, The Times of Israel presents the web premiere of the season one finale, launching December 6.
It’s a labor of love, says creator Leah Gottfried, who stars in the show along with co-producers Danny Hoffman and Jessica Schechter.
“For all of us, it’s a passion project, and we make the time for it. But often that means staying up really late, working on lunch breaks, things like that. But we do what it takes to make it happen,” Gottfried told The Times of Israel.
Gottfried credits the Israeli television show “Srugim” about Modern Orthodox dating in Jerusalem as a model; Hoffman says that show taught him to trust the audience to catch cultural references. As a result, despite being inwardly-focused, the themes in “Soon by You” are universal.
“[‘Srugim’] was a huge inspiration for me in creating the first episode,” Gottfried said. “I had never related so strongly to characters onscreen, and it was very powerful to watch and feel like it was an authentic portrayal of Modern Orthodox Jews.”
It’s a grassroots production well-suited to a demographic who are as likely to meet each other at a Shabbat table or wedding as they are at dinner or a movie. However, the pilot episode has won wide acclaim — including Best Short at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, and has collected nearly 150,000 views on YouTube.
Ahead of the season finale, Gottfried sat down for a conversation with The Times of Israel about the show’s production, inspiration, and dating in the…