Like The Secrets
, another in the spate of recent Israeli films about strictly observant Jews, this melancholy 2009 drama explores the near impossibility of reconciling religious community life and same-sex love. An ultra-Orthodox butcher (Zohar Strauss), bereaved over the death of his father, reopens the old man’s shop in Jerusalem and charitably hires a down-at-heels yeshiva student (Ran Danker) as his assistant. Ignoring rumors about the young man’s moral iniquities, the butcher brings him home to his wife and children and into his Torah circle, and gradually the bond between the two men becomes more than spiritual. Strauss and Danker give finely calibrated performances, but this directorial debut by Haim Tabakman is unadventurous, borrowing from the gay-cinema canon but adding nothing new. In Hebrew and Yiddish with subtitles.