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When Rieven asks his father, who wears a black yarmulke and whose tzitzit, or prayer shawl fringes, dangle out from under his shirt like curtain tassels on a windy day, “Why don’t you wear a hat and coat like everyone else?You’d look much nicer,” I found myself thinking: Yeah, Menashe, why don’t you?
It loosely tells the real-life story of Menashe Lustig, the ultra-Orthodox actor playing the title character.
Having been widowed for a year, Menashe wants to raise his ten-year-old son, Rieven, by himself. As the Book of Genesis says: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Until Menashe remarries, a rabbi decrees, Rieven is to be left in the custody of his uncle and aunt.