Monday, February 28, 2022

Shtisel: The show that changed my mind about the Charedim

Why do the denizens of Mea Shearim, Stamford Hill, Williamsburg and Broughton Park treat 2019 as though it were 1719? Why do they have kosher mobile phones, shun secular newspapers and seal themselves off from the surrounding world? Why do they dress as though they are still living in Lublin?

Most of us only truly experience Charedi life through art, films, documentaries, books. Yet depictions of the Strictly Orthodox in popular culture usually serve only to feed our preconceptions.

Much of it comes in the form of excommunication art, such as One Of Us, a documentary that depicted the horrors of trying to leave a Chasidic community. Or All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen, an extraordinary memoir about one Chasidic man’s agonising search for freedom. Then you have the coming-out dramas, movies such as Eyes Wide Open and Disobedience, which highlight the strains of forbidden passion.

1 comment :

  1. Most stuff about Chareidim was written either by people who wanted to justify their secular lifestyle's superiority or by OTD's who needed to justify why they left.
    Shtisel, on the other hand, is a love letter to the Chareidi community, showing the best and worst in proper balance, in other words showing that like everyone else they are real people.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.