Lili was born and raised in the Hasidic community of Boro Park, Brooklyn, and left her insular birthplace to pursue a professional career in law. After years of languishing in the hell that is corporate litigation, she liberated herself again and found a second career in Yiddish theater and is the past managing director of New Yiddish Rep. Since then, she has broken out as a trans actress and consultant who specializes in the Yiddish language and culture of pre-war Eastern European communities and contemporary Hasidic society. Dubbed by Airmail magazine “Hollywood’s Yiddish Consultant”, she served as the script consultant, translator, language coach and art consultant on numerous projects for theatre, film and TV, including most recently Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’, Amazon’s ‘Undone’ and a French-Ukrainian feature film in the final stages of production. She is the recipient of the American Film Institute (AFI) award for her work on Unorthodox. Additionally, The Binding of Itzik, in which Lili plays a version of herself was shortlisted for the Iris Prize, and has won numerous awards, including the JFI Film Completion Grant, Film Movement Best Narrative Short Award (San Francisco Jewish Film Festival), Best Film Award (Berlin Underground Film Festival), and the FreshFlix Short Film Award (Boston Jewish Film Festival). Lili is also a founding board member of Freidom, which helps foster community for those who leave fundamentalist communities.
If you could break one thing, what would it be?
Definitely gender. But also our views and understandings of Yiddishkeit and what it means to be Jewish or “other”.