The Baker and the Beauty
The Baker and the Beauty is an Israeli romantic comedy that follows the impossible love story between a baker from a humble Yemenite-Sephardic family and an internationally known blonde Ashkenazi superstar, daughter of a millionaire businessman.
The Baker and the Beauty
Available on Amazon Prime
Created by: Assi Azar
Grade Level: Middle School and up
- Mizrachi/Sephardic and Ashkenazi divide
- Mizrachi/Sephardic traditions
- Socioeconomic divide
- Family relationships
Noa Hollander has it all: she’s the most famous woman in the country, the beautiful daughter of a hotel magnate, a successful model with an international career and – up until now – one half of a Hollywood power couple. Amos is a simple 28-year-old guy who still lives with his parents and works at the family bakery.
A chance encounter at a fancy restaurant — where Amos goes to celebrate his ninth anniversary with his girlfriend Vanessa, and where Noa is avoiding public speculation about a break-up from her Hollywood lover – leads to unexpected sparks and an even more unlikely love story. Can their love survive her jet-setting lifestyle, her overbearing agent, his unworldly family, both their exes, and the media?
Worlds collide, cultures clash, and family values, celebrity, love, and humor ensue on screen.
Episode 5 – Friday Night Dinner
Noa invites herself to Shabbat dinner with Amos’ family. A comedy of events and errors unfold as Amalia orchestrates the manipulation of a warm traditional Yemenite family dinner. Everyone has one goal tonight: “If Noa falls in love with our warm and traditional home, she’ll also fall in love with Amos!!” “Since when are we traditional (masorti)?” Merav asks, and gets a threatening look from her mother.
It all unravels when Assaf invites a date, and it’s discovered that Amos lied about not living at home, a neighbor intrudes, and Vanessa bursts for the drama to really explode. Amos drives Noa home and she says she needs some time and space.
Episode 5 epitomizes the perceived stereotypical differences between Mizrachi/Sephardic and Ashkenazi families in general. The former is large, warm, boisterous, traditional (masorti), the food on their table is aplenty and spicy – in short something to look forward to. The latter is the opposite. The former might live in Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv, the latter lives in Tel Aviv itself. The former has lesser means while the latter is well-to-do. Usually, they both have overbearing Jewish mothers. Of course these are all oversimplified images and should be taken with a grain of salt, or in this case — a bit of hot sauce.
While differences do exist based on codes of behavior, family traditions, and other aspects, more and more Israeli families are blended and mixed. Maybe this “ethnic” divide will be less apparent in the near future, and we will have a real “Israeli salad.”
In compliance with the stereotype of the traditional (masorti) Yemenite home, Amalia orchestrates a Shabbat dinner with the semblance of tradition. Assaf improvises a tune for the kiddush, everybody is uncomfortable joining in, and it is apparent that this is not their usual custom.
- Do a quick search on the web for the origins of different Mizrachi/Sephardic communities in your city. Is there a Sephardic synagogue? A Sephardic mikveh? Sephardic holiday celebrations?
- Are you or any of your classmates of Mizrachi/Sephardic origin? Where from? Who are their ancestors
- What do you know about Mizrachi/Sephardic traditions? (i.e., music, holidays and Shabbat prayers, food, dress, Mimouna, etc.) Make a list.
- Choose one Mizrachi/Sephardic community in Israel and find out about their traditions. Write a short description and include links to songs, food, holidays etc. (i.e., Morocco, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Yemen, etc.)
North America’s Jewish community is seen as largely Ashkenazi, meaning it is made up of Jews who trace their ancestry to Germany and Eastern Europe. However, the first Jews to arrive in what would become the United States were Sephardic — tracing their ancestry to Spain and Portugal. There are also Jews who reside in the US who are from Arab lands — they are called Mizrachi Jews. Today, though, the terms Sephardic and Mizrachi are interchangeable.
To learn more:
JIMENA is an organization dedicated to ensuring that the accurate history of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews is incorporated into mainstream Jewish and Middle Eastern narratives in order to create balance in attitudes, narratives, and discourse about Middle Eastern refugees and the modern Jewish experience.
Jewish Immigration to America: Three Waves by Joellyn Zollen (My Jewish Learning)
‘Not All American Jews Are Ashkenazi’ by Sandee Brawarsky (New York Jewish Week)
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