"Jewvangelist" Makes Dreams Happen

What do you get when you combine family drama, witty humor and a dose of religious perspective? Jewvangelist!

By Michelle Valigursky

Landing a dream job takes work, and for Becky Kramer 98C, creating that dream job takes plenty of imagination and perseverance. As the creator and executive producer of Jewvangelist, Kramer mixes talent and ambition into a smartly-written “almost Kosher web series” that puts religion and social politics into witty perspective.

Main Jewvangelist Poster

Join the cast of Jewvangelist at www.jewvangelist.com.

“To me, Jewvangelist is the story of a somewhat naive young woman who is fighting to save an institution that she feels passionate about; the synagogue that was founded by her great-grandfather and has been passed down through the generations to her,” Kramer says. In spite of naysayers, “She tries everything she can think of to save the temple (and her dream job), often resorting to unorthodox and outlandish schemes.”

A successful Kickstarter Campaign gave life to Kramer’s artistic vision, and production took place over ten days in October and November of 2013. “I was stunned by the level of talent that our project attracted,” said Kramer. “Our executive producer (and my dear friend) Kaitlin Walsh mobilized a group of exceedingly talented individuals who ended up becoming just as passionate about the project as we were.”

In the six-episode series that launched February 12, Kramer’s character Rabbi Leah Levy calls upon Mormons, gospel leaders, evangelicals, and a host of others who inspire her to think outside the Judaism box. “Along the way, she finds herself and her own strength, and realizes what is really important in life (which is not necessarily what she thought it was).”

Kramer

Becky Kramer 98C

New episodes will air weekly on Wednesdays through March. Kramer made the  series “because I wanted to create a really great character for myself to play, someone real, quirky, and loveable, someone who keeps trying even in the face of her doubters, and someone who ultimately discovers how strong she really is. I mostly want people to be entertained by the story, to laugh a lot, to fall in love with the characters, and to want to see what happens next. That's not too much to ask, is it?”

Like Most Great Actresses,
Becky Kramer has Backstory

Life lessons often come hard, and for Kramer, a girlhood dream of serving in the Peace Corps ended with a much different result than she had envisioned. “For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be in the Peace Corps,” she recalls. After performing at Emory in musical theater productions and earning her bachelor’s degree in English, “I worked in the publicity department of Random House in New York. But I wanted more in my life. I needed to make a big change.”

Kramer found her courage, joined the Peace Corps, and was assigned to serve the Ivory Coast in 2000. “It was right before the country’s Civil War. There was a great deal of unrest. I fell ill,  and my experience there ended up being quite traumatic.” When she returned for medical treatment to Washington D.C., Kramer recalls feeling “at loose ends” with her life. In hindsight, she reflects on the experience. “I was too idealistic. Living by myself in a community with such upheaval made me realize I couldn’t affect substantial change to the circumstances.”

Time helped her recuperate, and in the process, Kramer reconnected with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris, author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, whom she had met while working at Random House. She became his research assistant and spent days happily combing the stacks of the Library of Congress on fact finding missions. Kramer then followed her heart to live and work in Paris at the satellite office of an American company. A good bit of soul searching ensued during those years, and Kramer found herself being called back to her theater roots. She returned to New York City and dedicated herself to studying acting. “I took my first acting for film class and immediately fell in love with the medium. I decided to move to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue acting fulltime.”

Hard work and a whole lot of perseverance have paid off. Kramer has appeared in numerous short films as well as on television series The Neighbors and The Eric Andre Show.  “It’s definitely been a challenging journey, but at the end of the day, acting is what I love to do, so I plan on sticking with it until I get to where I want to be. Creating my own project was a dream and my hope is that Jewvangelist will open some doors for me and help me take the next steps in my career.

Editor’s Note: Visit www.jewvangelist.com to read up-close and personal interviews with the series’ producer and actors. And, says Kramer, “Tune in and watch!”

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Michelle Valigursky