Reuben Shapira
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Reuben Shapira

Little Odessa

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About Him

Grew Up… looking up to his older brother Joshua, in Brighton Beach. Their father, Arkady, is a Jewish-Russian immigrant, who rules his family traditionally: with an iron first. He drinks and abuses his sons to instill discipline and strike fear into them.

Living… still with his parents. His mother Irina is terminally ill, and her sickness puts extra pressure on Reuben, now a teenager, and his father. To make things more complicated, his estranged brother Joshua has returned from Brooklyn with the Russian mafia on his tail. His brother hasn’t spoken with his family in a long time and his return shakes things up in the family. Reuben still looks up to Joshua, though, and gladly follows him around to learn more about his mysterious brother.

Profession… high school student. But he hasn’t been to school in months. He’d “rather be smoking bud in a museum.” Joshua doesn’t approve of Reuben cutting class, but then again he’s not really much of a role model.

Interests… the snakes at the museum, drinking with his brother, and going to movies with his brother.

Relationship Status… single. He hasn’t ever really had a girlfriend. But there’s a lot he can learn from his older brother, who picks up the local girl Alla right after arriving back home.

Challenge… helping his brother navigate the crises both within their home and on the streets. Reuben is well aware that his brother is in danger. The first time they meet up, Joshua tells him, “It’s not safe.” All Reuben can really do is help Joshua meet up with their mother when their father isn’t home. If his father finds Joshua, he will explode, as he has written Joshua off as “dead to him.”

Personality… impressionable and imitative. Reuben learns how to be cool and hard from his brother. He wants to be exactly like him, at least until he realizes the full extent of Joshua’s murderous profession. Reuben still has the opportunity to decide the kind of future he will have.

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