A young orthodox woman smiles demurely and speaks to the camera. “Hi everybody. My name is Chaya-Suri. And I wanted to tell you a story of hashgokhe protis [divine providence]. About the importance of tsnius [modesty].”
At first it’s hard to get the point of the video. But as she continues, you realize there’s a wink in her eye. “My husband stayed home. Whatever—he works. He has a job. He works at a café called Crunch and Munch. It’s very yummy.”
Chaya-Suri, the persona created by the irrepressible comedian Deena Mann, goes on to deliver a delicious work of satire that takes us from shopping for summer shoes to poolside drinks, reflecting along the way about life outside of Flatbush (“Miami in general is just like a beautiful continent”) and eventually to Orthodox women’s responsibility to be modestly covered, in the event that men show up at the swimming pool during women’s-only hours.
It’s an act that mines the limitations of a sheltered worldview, and much like those of humorists Mendele Mokher-Seforim and Sholem Aleichem, Mann’s achieves universal appeal precisely through a close observation of her own community’s social and linguistic idiosyncrasies. Join us for daiquiris with Chaya-Suri tonight.