The Arty Semite

Up in the Orthodox Hotel

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Courtesy Iris Zaki

Unlike most filmmakers, Iris Zaki did not have to go out and find a subject for her movie. Instead, it came to her. In fact, it walked right up to her as she sat behind the reception desk at the Croft Court Hotel, in Golders Green, London.

Zaki, a 34-year-old secular, single Israeli woman from Haifa pursuing advanced filmmaking degrees in London, had been working at the Lubavitcher-owned hotel. It soon became apparent that the fascinating conversations she was having with the hotel’s patrons — primarily ultra-Orthodox Jews — would make for an interesting short film.

With the encouragement of her professors and mentors, Zaki focused a lens on these interactions and turned the view from behind the reception desk into “My Kosher Shifts.” The film has been screened at European, Israeli and American festivals, most recently at the Washington Jewish Film Festival earlier this month.

Read more



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.