Netflix creating show about woman leaving hassidic community

'Unorthodox' is slated to hit the streaming platform next year.

February 12, 2019 16:19
1 minute read.
The opening scene of the 2017 Netflix documentary 'One of Us.'

The opening scene of the 2017 Netflix documentary 'One of Us.'. (photo credit: NETFLIX)


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TV shows about haredi Jews are hugely popular in Israel. And now, Netflix is getting in on the action with an original series linked to the ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

According to Variety, the new series will be titled Unorthodox, and is being produced in partnership with Anna Winger, a writer who created the German series Deutschland 83.

The show, according to the report, will center on a young Jewish woman who flees an arranged marriage and her religiously insular community for a new start outside of the country.

The series is based in part on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. Feldman, who was born into the Satmar hassidic community in Brooklyn, was married at 17 and become a mother at 19. When she turned 20, Feldman left the community and got a degree in literature before settling in Berlin, where her native tongue of Yiddish helped her pick up the language.

On Wednesday, Feldman shared the Variety story on Twitter, writing, “Exciting news!”

Variety reported that the upcoming show is slated to feature dialogue in both English and Yiddish.

The cast of the show has reportedly yet to be finalized, but shooting is scheduled to begin in May in Brooklyn and Berlin, and the show is expected to premiere in 2020.

In 2017, Netflix released an original documentary titled One of Us, about three young hassidic Jews who chose to leave the confines of their religious communities. The documentary was praised for its sensitivity to their journeys and also criticized by many for its largely sinister portrayal of ultra-Orthodox life.

And in December, Netflix added the Yes original Israeli show Shtisel to its lineup. That series, featuring dialogue in Hebrew and Yiddish, tells the story of Akiva (Michael Aloni), a young haredi man living in Jerusalem, who explores a little rebellion from his strict upbringing.

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