Loving Leah is a television film that aired on CBS as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on January 25, 2009. The film is directed by Jeff Bleckner and stars Adam Kaufman as an unobservant Jewish bachelor who feels compelled to marry his observant rabbi brother's widow, Leah (Lauren Ambrose) to honor him via the ancient Jewish law of yibbum (levirate marriage).
"Loving Leah began as a play by P'nenah Goldstein and was brought to Hallmark by Ricki Lake, who also appears in a minor role in the film. Goldstein also wrote the screenplay and ""saw it in a way like Moonstruck or Crossing Delancey."" To prepare for her role, lead actress Lauren Ambrose spent time with women of the close-knit Hasidic community."
Plot: When his estranged brother dies suddenly, Jake Lever is confronted with an old Jewish custom. In days past, a man was expected to marry his deceased brother's childless widow, but it is now customary to perform a ceremony releasing the pair from the obligation. During the Halizah ceremony, Jake feels uncomfortable renouncing his brother's memory. Additionally, Leah wishes to escape the confines of her orthodox community and avoid her mother's matchmaking. On the spur of the moment, Leah and Jake decide to enter into a platonic marriage of convenience.
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