A Film about Ḥasidim that Moves beyond Stereotypes

April 28 2015

The movie Felix and Meira tells the story of a ḥasidic woman unhappy with her marriage and her community who toys with leaving the fold and pursues a dalliance with a Gentile. The movie, writes Shulem Deen, succeeds because, unlike other treatments of restless Ḥasidim, its characters are humans rather than archetypes:

Felix and Meira is the story of one ḥasidic woman, not ḥasidic womanhood; this is not a woman’s rebellion against religion, but the story of a wife and husband badly paired, who simply want different things out of life. [Her husband] Shulem wants the life he was born to live. A typical ḥasidic young man, he wants to study, pray, raise children, and maintain his good standing within the community. His wife wants more, but he does not understand her. . . .

Meira is not a one-dimensional figure with traits plotted along the dots of common ḥasidic female stereotypes. She’s given a voice and a psychological profile that is at once endearing and exasperating. Shulem, too, while possessing fewer distinguishing characteristics, is well cast; he comes across as balanced, having neither great passion nor great dullness. His equanimity may not stir in us great sympathy, but we cannot dislike him, either.

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Read more at New Republic

More about: Arts & Culture, Canadian Jewry, Film, Hasidism, Heresy

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror