Unorthodox

I binge watched Unorthodox on Netflix yesterday, and found it really, really fascinating. I heard about it a  few days ago, and thought I’d give it a go. Without wanting to spoil anything for others, it’s a series of about six episodes about a community of ultra-orthodox Jews from New York. One girl, Esther, breaks from them and goes to find a new life in Berlin. What fascinates me is how it gives viewers an insight into a minority otherwise totally ignored by mainstream  media: to many people including myself, this type of orthodox Judaism can seem mysterious, reclusive and even a  tad scary; this program helps to part the curtain somewhat. By using as it’s central protagonist a young woman trying to find a balance between her community and that of the modern, twenty-first century, we glimpse a community whose rituals and beliefs seem extremely foreign to us, but which occupies the same cities we do. They even speak their own language, Yiddish. At the same time, the show goes to some length to explain how this community came about and why it behaves as it does. At one point, for example, an elderly rabbi at a dinner party explains the theology behind why the community is  so separate and why it sees itself as different from others. As a member of a ‘community’ (albeit a fare looser one)  which is  similarly marginalised, I must say that struck me as food for thought – why would any community want such outsidership, to the extent that it is a core aspect of it’s identity? Either way, such  questions certainly make Unorthodox worth checking out.

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