Whe gets his money’s worth with this Netflix four-part? Contemporaries with an interest in extremely dogmatic, religiously and quantitatively (around a hundred thousand of about fifteen million Jews worldwide) completely unrepresentative Hasidic and ultra-orthodox Jews and who considers them as reactionary as misogynistic. Finally, also those who consider Berlin’s creative multicultural bubble as the new Arcadia and think that playing music or swimming together in the Great Wannsee of a young woman from Yemen and a former ultra-orthodox Jew from Williamsburg, Brooklyn / New York, guarantees lasting Jewish-Islamic harmony or solve the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Attentive readers have noticed that I am somewhat different from those who are only positively programmed. But this in no way means a rejection of their essentially benevolent world view or even an admiration of whatever orthodoxy. However, I cannot tolerate dividing the world into either black or white. This series presents exactly such a black and white world view, and it involuntarily transforms itself under the sign of anti-orthodoxy into another form of orthodoxy.
A second note in advance: I am not a film or television critic, but only a historian. I do scientific research and, as a person, I have experienced the Jewish world in its diversity – not only for outsiders – since it was born.
It goes without saying that marriages are arranged there
The series is the somewhat varied adaptation of the autobiographical bestseller “Unorthodox” by Deborah Feldman, published in 2012. She was born in New York in 1986. She grew up and was brainwashed in the petrified ultra-orthodox “Satmar” Hasidic community. In the film, Deborah is called Esther, called “Esty”, and the content is quickly summarized.
As is common in this and other comparable ultra-orthodox Hasidic communities, women and girls have nothing to report. It goes without saying that marriages are arranged. The completely unenlightened Esty, who doesn’t know her body at all, not even sexuality, is married at the age of seventeen and previously explained by an experienced woman about the female body in a rather bizarre way, so to speak in children’s language. The audience is not spared how Esty checks the woman’s delicate “two holes” on the toilet.
The Talmudic sages taught: “Three things are already a foretaste of paradise in this world: sun, Sabbath, co-sleep.” In the undeformed tradition of Judaism, sexuality is “oneg” or joy, pleasure and not just fulfillment of duty in the sense of the biblical commandment ” Be fertile and multiply ”. According to the Talmudists, the physical pleasure of women is also part of the (married) man’s duty. Since most viewers of “unorthodox” probably know Judaism even less than Christianity and Islam, they will conclude that “Judaism” condemns “lust for meat”. In this way, “enlightenment” is transformed into misinformation and “Judaism” is stigmatized as misogynistic.
The man is “king”, not just in bed
It’s no wonder that Esty and her husband Yanki’s stereotypical love act degenerates into clumsy man-woman gymnastics and, yes, to the totally cramped in-and-out struggle of the sexes. Neither lust nor love and the body, quite literally, “undercover”, that is, only under the covers. You are spared at least pornography. It depends on the reproduction. When “it” works for the first and only time (with him), it is enough for Esty’s pregnancy. Mission accomplished? In one of the many discussions about her messed up sex, Esty reminds her husband of the Talmud’s desire for women. He counters: women are not allowed to read the Talmud at all.