“Rough Diamonds” Gets the Details of Hasidic Life Right, but Fails to Create Compelling Characters

Speaking of Yiddish, you can hear it spoken on the television series Rough Diamonds, along with a host of other tongues—a detail explored by our language columnist Philologos. Emil Stern provides a more general revies of the show, which focuses on a family of ḥasidic diamond merchants in Antwerp, their wayward son, and the clan of Albanian mobsters he has married into:

Streaming has opened up a world of subcultures to our homes, and on the count of verisimilitude, Rough Diamonds is mostly convincing. The ḥasidic costumes, beards, and wigs are realistic, there are mezuzahs on every doorpost, and the shul scenes feel enjoyably heymish. . . . But the show’s surface authenticity rarely deepens into psychology. The Wolfsons spend entirely too much time looking tense in elegant doorways. And while the polyglot nature of the show feels realistic, the dialogue itself is often workmanlike rather than idiomatic.

To its credit, Rough Diamonds doesn’t depict its world as irredeemably oppressive, the way Unorthodox, a very different Netflix series about ḥasidic life, did. The Wolfsons’ high-ceilinged home feels gracious and warm, and the kids seem well cared for. The show succeeds when its characters work with what they have, like Eli, haplessly trying to maneuver a rival by tattling on his son’s non-kosher Internet habits (it doesn’t work).

Despite its charms, Stern concludes, the show never quite delivers.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Hasidim, Television, Yiddish


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security