‘Arranged:’ Faith & Friendship in NYC

My sister recommended this movie that we found delightfully inspirational, especially given the cross-cultural, religious & political challenges in the Middle East. This spunky independent film is set in Brooklyn, where two first-year elementary teachers meet at school and find they have more in common with each other than with their wild colleagues.

The hitch: Rochel Meshenberg (Zoe Lister-Jones) is Orthodox Jewish while Nisira Khaldi (Francis Benhamou) comes from a devout Muslim Syrian family.  Both live at home and are consumed with the next big step in their lives: arranged marriages.

Although their families look askance at their friendship, Rochel and Nisira forge ahead dodging dweeby potential mates (the Orthodox Jewish ‘dating’ scenes are hilarious!) and then comparing notes. Add in shenanigans from their liberally feminist Jewish principal, (“here, take this money – go and buy yourselves some new clothes,”) pressure from their families and neighbors, they must stand up for themselves and their beliefs.  But with a bit of faith and friendship, they facipulate (manipulation with a bit of facilitation thrown in) their way into arranged marriages with husbands they really like…

Watching this again last week on Netflix streaming, I felt like cheering!  If you’re looking for an inspirational movie this weekend (no blood & guts), give ‘Arranged’ a look-see.   “Friendship has no religion…”


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