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Lights, Camera, Action!

Michal Eisikowitz

When Ronit Polin was asked to produce a play and video it, she jumped at a chance — and spearheaded a new genre of Jewish entertainment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

takes in jerusalemA familiar name to frum women worldwide, Ronit Polin is a bubbling wellspring of talent and energy who revolutionized the world of religious entertainment when she released the very first frum, US-based film. A beloved teacher and counselor, the dynamic scriptwriter, drama coach, and director first became famous for her plays —including Hate Not Thy Brother, Face 2 Face, and Special Effect — which were later reproduced in schools and camps across the world.

But Ronit’s exciting career had humble beginnings. She traces it to a bedroom in her hometown of Philadelphia, where ten wide-eyed, pajama-clad babysitting charges waited for a story — their reward for bedtime obedience. Captivating her diminutive audience was a matter of survival — but Ronit did more than survive, her innate penchant for storytelling emerging in glorious color.

“As the suspense built up, the kids’ mouths would slowly drop open,” she remembers. “They’d clutch onto each other for dear life — and I couldn’t get enough! It was my first exposure to the power of a story.”

Upon graduating high school, Ronit accepted a teaching position at Bais Yaakov of Boro Park that she’d fill for the next 10 years. While teaching English to her eager pupils — Ronit’s newest captive audience — the vivacious educator simultaneously occupied the other end of the classroom, earning her BA in psychology and education from Touro College, and ultimately, her master’s in school psychology. “I felt that some of my students were falling through the cracks, and I wanted to do more for them,” she says of her career choice.

But despite her full-time schedule of teaching and studying, when Ronit was asked to write a high-school script, she embraced the challenge — and unknowingly rekindled the thespian passion within.

 

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