There’s a Jewish plot-line in the new season of Netflix TV’s Orange is the New Black, and our favorite musical kicks off its most poignant development. Here’s the set-up: When the new private company managing Lichtfield Prison cuts costs by feeding inmates pre-packaged meals instead of assigning some prisoners to cook fresh food in the kitchen, the results are less than appetizing. Lorna, for one, regrets the change: “I really liked eating. It was part of my daily routine,” she says, surveying the wet brown slop on her plate. There’s an alternative, though: the kosher meals prisons are required to supply to inmates who request them on religious grounds. Smell a scam? Well, it smells a lot better than those big baggies full of soupy beef wellington. (Inmates in Pennsylvania tried this tack in real life a few years ago.) Lutheran Lolly is the first to request kosher meals, but “Black Cindy” (Adrienne C. Moore) is quick to catch on and more determined to make it work. Hurrying to bone up on Jewishness, she rummages through the prison’s meager video collection looking for — yep! — Fiddler on the Roof. When, in a later episode, a rabbi come through to test the inmates on their Jewish commitment — and thus, eligibility for the kosher meals — Cindy hilariously pieces together a self-narrative built of Woody Allen movies and Yentl. But it’s Fiddler she thinks of first and that’s enough to — well, in case you haven’t binge-watched all of Season 3 yet, no spoilers! I’ll just say that it’s Cindy’s first step toward the mikveh.
Could we expect any less when OITNB‘s Piper Chapman — queen-pin of this season’s illicit panty trade –is played by Taylor Schilling, who decided to pursue acting when she was cast, at age 12, in a middle-school production of Fiddler on the Roof?