If the Netflix series “Unorthodox” has whetted your appetite for portrayals of the charedi Orthodox world on TV and film, you might consider the body of work of Yehonatan Indursky, the creator of “Shtisel” and several other movies, shows and documentaries.
“Ponevezh Time”: The 2014 documentary depicts the spartan creed of study that prevails at the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. The spines of the volumes of Talmud and commentary are cracked and taped many times over. The boys’ grayish-white shirts balloon over their thin bodies. Many of them sleep in their clothes. Elderly teachers huddle close to electric heaters that provide only a single coil of warmth. As my wife put it, “This doesn’t look anything like Harvard.” (Available in most countries on Amazon Prime and Google Play.)
“The Cantor and the Sea”: The 2015 short film is about an unmarried, middle-aged cantor who arrives, along with his mother, at a seaside community to lead the High Holiday prayers. The movie carries the wisp of love, more like a poem than a novel. (YouTube)
“Shtisel”: It’s the great cinematic novel of the charedi world. The characters sin and stray in different ways, but they are deeply rooted in their world and a pleasure to watch there. (Netflix)
“Autonomies”: The six-part, 2018 series imagines a future in which a revolt over a draft law leads to a separation between the state of Tel Aviv and the religious autonomous region of Jerusalem. The cold peace between the two sides is ruptured when the daughter of the chief rabbi — brilliantly played by Shuli Rand, the star of “Ushpizin,” another classic portrayal of the charedi world — learns that the child she thought she lost at birth was actually given, in the hospital, to a secular couple in Tel Aviv. (Amazon Prime)
Times of Israel