Kiss me Kosher
Israel, Germany 2021
Directed by Shirel Peleg
English, German, Hebrew, Arabic
This movie is a thoroughly engaging comedy that successfully walks the fine line between hilarious and heart-breaking. On its surface, the film is a cute rom-com about an Israeli woman and a German woman getting ready to marry. More deeply, the film is about international relations at the personal level. Shira and Maria, already facing anti-gay discrimination from Israel’s conservatives, find that their sexual orientation controversy pales in comparison to the wounds of the Holocaust. Though Shira and Maria deeply love one another, the shadows of the Second World War weigh heavily on their relationship. Despite the fact that they remain removed from the events of the Holocaust by two generations, they still find themselves attempting to navigate the pain of the past. To complicate matters further, Shira’s grandmother Berta, one of the most vocal critics of Shira’s German bride, is herself clandestinely involved with her Palestinian Arab neighbor Ibrahim. Every character and every generation has a chance to ignite a war. “Kiss Me Kosher” is of course aware of the irony of the xenophobia and prejudice present in Israeli culture, but it couches its criticism in humour. Shira’s father Ron is an American emigre who yells about Arabs from his armchair like an Archie Bunker stereotype. Her sister Ella is a soldier and her brother Liam deliberately stirs up conflict in order to get better footage for a film school documentary he’s making about his sister’s unconventional relationship. As in any good comedy, the conflicts also reveal a path for hope; the need to own and acknowledge the hurts that affect us now provide a path to freedom and love and the healing necessary to step into the future.