For articles, information, and educational programming, go to our the page we created following Makom’s Global Jewish Forum on Haredim in Israel.
For an exploration of the issue of women’s exclusion from elements of religious society in Israel, we start here from a cartoon, and go on from there…
Film and Video
Here is an astonishing short video of a Chassidic wedding:
Documentary: I’m Ultra-Orthodox, 2007
Haredi society in Israel traditionally positioned itself in contradistinction from the other part of the population – secular and modern orthodox. In recent years the ultra-orthodox community has grown to such an extent that joining the work force has become an acute and inevitable necessity, mainly for financial reasons.
This reality creates all kinds of situations where the outside world is beginning to seep inwards. This episode from the excellent series “Did Herzl Really Say That” examines the sensitivities behind this unavoidable influence and their consequences for the ultra-orthodox community.
A central tenet of the Haredi world view, “everything new is forbidden by the Torah” is coming into deep question…
The entire film can be seen on youtube, in poor quality, with subtitles only in Hebrew and Russian. For a copy of the film with English subtitles, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the site of Ruth Diskin Films and mention that Makom sent you!
After watching the film, ask yourself:
1. What are the challenges facing the Haredi world according the film?
2. What is new about the 2007 Haredi?
3. What are the core values of the Haredi world you identify in this film?
Feature film: Ushpizin
Moshe and Mali Bellanga are an impoverished, childless, Hasidic baal teshuva couple in the Breslov community in Jerusalem. After Moshe is passed over for a stipend he expected, they cannot pay their bills, much less prepare for the upcoming holiday of Sukkot.
Moshe admires a particularly beautiful Etrog, one of the four species required for the holiday observance. After some anguished prayer, the couple receives an unexpected monetary gift on the eve of the holiday and Moshe buys the Etrog for a large sum of money that is much more than he can afford.
The couple is visited by a pair of escaped convicts, one of whom knew Moshe in his earlier, non-religious life. The convicts become their guests according to the tradition of hospitality (Ushpizin) in the Sukkah, creating many conflicts and straining Moshe and Mali’s relationship.
Ushpizin can be rented from Netflix, here.
- How are the life of Moshe and Mali different or similar to yours?
- What are the core values of the Haredi world you identify in this film?
- How would you describe Moshe and Mali’s connection with god?
- What weight does the film put on openness to encounter with the non-Haredi world?
For general information about the film click here.
To learn more about the spiritual world of the star actors and creators of the film, Shuli and Michal Bat-Sheva Rand, click here.
More about Shuli Rand
Shuli Rand himself left his orthodox upbringing and became a leading actor of his generation, living a secular life. It was near the height of his success that he found himself drawn to the Haredi world.
On returning to the stage, he presented a solo show, an adaptation of an Agnon story. The theaters that hosted the show were required to seat men and women separately. The show, Yahrzeit, won best Fringe Show of the year.
Rand is also now a successful singer-songwriter, filling the Cesaerea Amphitheater with his concerts. For a taste, here is one of his songs with English subtitles: