Is the talented television series worth watching

"Shtisel" series: Deep and cheerful insight into ultra-orthodox families

Main pictureThe series shows a strict regime of the elderly, which sometimes disrupts the lives of the young.(c) Netflix

The community that shows the Israeli series "Shtisel" (recently on Netflix) is unknown to many. An incredibly closely watched family saga that inspires.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans!” The quote is from Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, man of letters and philosopher. Rabbi Shulem Shtisel from Jerusalem said this to his son Akiva, who is also a rabbi but an enthusiastic draftsman and painter. He is so talented that he finds a well-known gallery owner who wants to promote him in America. But Akiva hesitates. At the age of 27, the handsome young man should get married urgently and he has already suffered a few failures, a true obsession seized him for a widow of two, he gave a beautiful 16-year-old a passport, now it's his 23-year-old cousin Libbi's turn. But their father does not want to agree to a relative marriage, a painting career is out of the question for the gruff father-in-law, Shulem's brother who lives in Antwerp, and Libbi himself wants to lead a perfectly normal Jewish marriage and family life. . .

“Why I can't stop watching 'Shtisel'?” The reporter Renee Ghert-Zand wrote in the “Times of Israel” about this question: In the midst of terrorist attacks and fear, the journalist who moved from California to Israel has consolation at the "Escapist" series found. Yes, of course “Shtisel” is escapist, the outside world doesn't seem to matter, nor does the Holocaust. “Shtisel” is simply an incredibly closely watched family saga, if it weren't so strange, it could be compared in terms of authenticity with the original British series “Downton Abbey”: The types, the milieu, the ambience, everything just fits perfectly.

In the theater the director seems powerful. His name is well known. Often it outshines the actors and sometimes it spreads fear and horror. Many names in the film industry are not known at all. For example, not even those of the ingenious “Shtisel” makers Ori Elon, Alon Zingman, Yehonatan Indursky, the latter himself grew up in an Orthodox family. The series shows a strict regime of the elderly, which sometimes disrupts and destroys the lives of the young - and a very old-fashioned image of women. When Giti is dumped by her husband with five children, she has to hide it because it is her shame - and his shame must by no means be made known.

But are we really that far from these guys? To the Patriarch Shulem, who has six children and after the death of his wife walks on bare feet, as they used to say; Shulem's mother lives in the old people's home and would like to see the sea again; Shulem's granddaughter, the growing Ruchama, bravely and unswervingly sets out in search of love and justice.

If you deduct the regulations, we are no different

Many well-known Israeli actors play in “Shtisel”, including Dov Glickmann, who you would certainly not recognize on the street because he looks completely different from the monolithic constant smoker Shulem, who is constantly telling his adult children unpleasant truths “on the head”, she teaches, but still loves with missionary care. If you look at our family life full of liberality, this world seems far away. But if you deduct the regulations that surround us do-gooders, we are no different from the Shtisels with their arguments about what is allowed and what is not, what the youngsters are allowed to do and what is out of the question. On the edge between transformed modernity and tradition that has been passed on over generations, the Shtisels walk cheerful and bitter tightrope walks.

The series also tells of a joy that we have learned to watch with suspicion: Lots of children, extended family! And it makes you feel the security that religion can give, a religion in which nothing happens without invoking God, even when you walk through a door. The series also makes clear the dichotomy that arises from such a life: Feeling secure in old customs and pursuing self-realization is difficult. In addition to the lovable “Shtisel” series, there is also the film “One of us” on Netflix. It takes place in the same milieu as the Hasidic community of ultra-orthodox Jews, but in the USA. Two women, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, produced and shot “One of us” and they deal with the subject much more critically than the gentlemen, there is no talk of propaganda in this story of Orthodox who have left and deal with the consequences of this to struggle with great stride. "One of us" is set in Brooklyn, where an American version of "Shitsel" is to be shot next, which hopefully does not pour the sometimes penetrating sauce of American entertainment culture over this precious material, but as realistic as the Israeli version and "One of us." “Is.