A New Reality Television Show Draws on Stale Stereotypes about Orthodox Jews

July 14 2021

Today, an “unscripted” series premiers on Netflix with the unoriginal name My Unorthodox Life, focused on Julia Haart, a fashion designer who nine years ago broke with the ḥaredi community in which she had grown up, and now—in the breathless words of the New York Times— “heads a global talent empire.” Kylie Ora Lobell comments on the buzz the series has generated:

In the trailer, [Haart] says, “It takes time to deprogram yourself.” Media outlets are reporting that the show “takes a strong stance against fundamentalism” and they’re praising [Haart] for “escaping” the grasp of her ultra-Orthodox community in Monsey, New York.

This is a story we’ve heard over and over again. [Often] these stories involve individuals who have some type of mental illness, were abused by their families, had spouses who didn’t understand them, or the like. Somehow, though, the Orthodox lifestyle and/or community are to blame for all their troubles. And when they bring up shocking stories about their communities, nobody bothers to look into them to see if they are true. . . . The Orthodox perspective is almost never taken into account.

Of course, there are people who have legitimate grievances with their Orthodox community. . . . Still, I can’t help but notice what seems to be a distressing media obsession. . . . I could provide countless examples of how wonderful Orthodox Jews are, but when it comes to Netflix, the media, and the publishing houses, that’s not what sells.

When My Unorthodox Life comes out, I anticipate it’ll get a lot of praise. Reviewers will say the star of it is bold and brave, and they will continue to bash Orthodox Jews.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Orthodoxy, Television

Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria