Shira Haas cast in Netflix film about woman leaving ultra-Orthodoxy

Shooting on the project in Yiddish and English has already begun in Berlin

Shira Haas in the 2016 film 'Princess.' (photo credit: YES)
Shira Haas in the 2016 film 'Princess.'
(photo credit: YES)

Israeli actress Shira Haas (The Zookeeper’s Wife, Shtisel) has been cast as the star of an upcoming Netflix series about a woman who leaves her New York hassidic upbringing for secular life in Berlin.


The show, titled Unorthodox, was announced in February and is based in part on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.


Deadline reported on Tuesday that production on the mini-series is already underway in Berlin, and that it is being directed by Maria Schrader, the star of Deutschland 83.


“I am beyond excited to take part in this unique and beautifully written TV series about a strong woman trying to find her voice against all odds,” Haas said, according to Deadline.


The cast of the miniseries is also slated to include Israeli actor Amit Rahav, and Jeff Wilbusch (Bad Banks, The Little Drummer Girl), a German-Israeli actor that grew up in an ultra-Orthodox community.


Haas will portray the character inspired by Feldman, a woman born into a Satmar hassidic community in Brooklyn who entered an arranged marriage as a teenager. Feldman left the community at age 20 and got a degree in literature before settling in Berlin, where her native tongue of Yiddish helped her pick up the language.


Variety reported earlier this year that Unorthodox will feature dialogue in both English and Yiddish.


Haas is a well-known actor in Israel, and has started in an impressive slate of TV and film projects both in Israel and abroad.


She portrayed the character of Ruchami Weiss – the daughter of an ultra-Orthodox couple in Jerusalem – in the hit series Shtisel, which was picked up by Netflix last year.


Unorthodox is expected to hit the streaming service at some point in 2020.