Nothing in Israeli actor Shuli Rand’s life has been simple and his personal dramas have played out in public, rivaling anything in his movies, and culminated in his marriage on Tuesday night to actress and television presenter Tzufit Grant. Actors and musicians Orna Banai, Amir Benayoun and Shlomi Shaban were reportedly among the guests.
Rand and Grant’s relationship has received a great deal of attention for several reasons. Rand became ultra-Orthodox over 20 years ago while Grant is secular. He had an extremely acrimonious split from his previous wife, Michal Rand, in 2016. Michal, who also became ultra-Orthodox as an adult, accused him of abandoning her to pursue other women and of not supporting their seven children, and a long he-said, she-said conflict played out in the media. She sued him for NIS 2.5 million and each said they had been physically abused by the other. Although Michal refused to agree to a divorce, Rand reportedly received a rare exemption signed by 100 rabbis that allowed him to remarry.
Although Grant is not observant, she said in an interview with Ynet last month that she has always kept kosher and has started to observe the Sabbath with Rand.
They tied the knot at a secluded location near Beit Shemesh. Grant wore a modest wedding gown with long sleeves and a high neckline. She told her groom: “I want to tell you to accept with complete conviction that I love you and I thank you for choosing me.” After the traditional breaking of the glass, Rand sang There is No Despair in the World.
Rand was born into a distinguished religious family. His father was Yaakov Rand, education and special needs researcher who received the Israel Prize in 2001. Shuli Rand’s uncle was Reuven Feuerstein, the special-needs educational pioneer who founded the Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem and for many years, Rand has been active in helping to fundraise for various special-needs frameworks around Israel.
When he was breaking into acting, he abandoned religious observance and became one of Israel’s most acclaimed actors, starring in such classics as Assi Dayan’s Life According to Agfa, for which he won his first Best Actor Award in 1992. But in the late 90s, he became ultra-Orthodox and joined the Breslov Hasidim, the sect that venerates Rabbi Nahman. He strove to continue acting without compromising his faith and performed all over Israel in one-man shows in which he sang, recited excerpts from the writings of Rabbi Nahman and performed dramatic scenes. He also released several successful musical albums.
In 2004, Rand co-wrote and starred in the movie Ushpizin, a movie that was directed by the secular Gidi Dar, a longtime friend and collaborator of Rand’s, and which received the approval of the Breslov community. In it, Rand played a former criminal who became ultra-Orthodox and who is shocked when old criminal associates of his arrival for the Sukkot holiday to hide out at his home. Michal portrayed his wife in the movie to adhere to modesty laws. The movie was a worldwide hit and Rand received his second Ophir Award for it. Recently, he starred in Dar’s Legend of Destruction, a film about the destruction of the Second Temple. He has also had roles in the television series, Shtisel and Autonomies. He recently attended the event introducing the Israeli Cinema Day.