Deep in the heart of New York's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe, a kind, hapless grocery store clerk, struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah's death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven's strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah's memorial. It's his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters.
Performed entirely in Yiddish, the colloquial language of the Hasidic community, MENASHE uses intimate, handheld camerawork to drop us inside and humanize a hermetically sealed world of black-hatted, working-class men debating in crowded shuls or seeking counsel in the rabbi's library. And yet, Menashe is in many ways an outsider in this tight-knit circle, as he bucks convention and ruffles feathers to stay true to himself.