Abe Karpman wouldn’t hold Natalie Portmans hand, but then again, for this Hasid holding his wifes hand in public is taboo as well. The father of three was set to star in “New York, I Love You” which is a film weaving together several short stories about finding love in the five boroughs. However after his neighbors protested he had to withdraw in fear for his family and their position in the religious community of Williamsburg.
“I am backing out of the movie,” said Karpen, a kitchen cabinet salesman. “It’s not acceptable in my community. It’s a lot of pressure I am getting. They [the rabbis] didn’t like the idea of a Hasidic guy playing in Hollywood. I have my kids in religious schools and the rabbi called me over yesterday and said in order for me to keep my kids in the school I have to do what they tell me and back out,” Karpen said.
In a community where watching television and going to the movies is forbidden, to actually be in one, would be more than just social suicide, you would be cutting yourself off. When threatened with having your children removed from school, losing your job and livelihood, even walking beside the lovely Natalie might lose it’s appeal.
-This film has a roster including Zach Braff, Mira Nair, Elijah Wood, Nick Nolte, Kevin Bacon, Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen.
-It takes place in NY, the loved borough of all (unless you are the girl in the scrunchy)
-Scarlett will be directing her own short piece for the movie, rather than appearing in Woody’s.
– Reporting by Nina Safar