The Arty Semite

Reality TV Comes to Orthodox Suburbia

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Malkah Winter has a natural passion for fillmmaking.

Malkah Winter feels the need to express herself creatively, and she comes by it genetically. The daughter of the late Yiddish theater owner and producer, Oscar Ostroff, Winter has been single-handedly directing, producing and editing Jewish Life TV’s new reality show, “In Over Our Heads.” The show aims to smash stereotypes surrounding suburban Orthodox Jews in the predominantly Jewish community of Sharon, Mass., whose lifestyle Winter, a 34-year-old mother of five, is intimately and personally acquainted with.

After being a stay-at-home mom for over a decade, Winter (who has had a lifelong interest in the arts but never studied filmmaking) picked up a video camera last November and convinced a small group of friends to allow her to document their day-to-day lives. She sees herself as following in her father’s footsteps, telling the stories of Judaism and Jewish life, only through the more contemporary media of television and the Internet.

“In Over Our Heads” is reportedly the most popular program on JLTV, which reaches 30 million homes in the US and will begin broadcasting in Canada this fall. Network executives picked the show up after catching its first episode, which Winter made at the local cable access studio. The show can also be seen on YouTube, where its first eight episodes have garnered a combined total of 20,000 views to date. JLTV has ordered another 26 episodes.

While viewers outside Sharon are supportively tuning in to see Winter and her friends Valerie Frank, Yitzi Cusner, Simcha Weinberg and Marc Hirsch struggle with and openly debate everything from marriage and parenthood to spirituality and religious hypocrisy, their neighbors have been less appreciative. Unused to viewing their community and lifestyle exposed in this way, they have confronted members of the cast, asking, “What is with this?!”

Winter loves Judaism and Torah and wants to share them with others, but at the same time, she says, “I can never just accept what someone tells me.” With “In Over Our Heads,” she has found an artistic voice for her Jewish identity. “I get to break it into pieces and then put it back together.”

Watch the first episode of “In Over Our heads:”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sharon Mass. TV, Reality TV, Oscar Ostroff, Malkah Winter, In Over Our Heads, Jewish Life TV, Television

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.