Series | In Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles | 2 Seasons (24 episodes). Each episode is 45 minutes | Original release: June 29, 2013

This Israeli television series is about the fictional lives of Hasidic (ultra-orthodox) families in the Geula section of Jerusalem. Although they are portrayed as fanatical about their religious beliefs, the series also portrays many of them struggling with the conflicts of difficult relationships. Shulem, the patriarch and a widower, rules his brood with an iron fist. Akiva, his youngest son, rejects a matchmaker’s selection and falls in love with his first cousin. He frustrates the family by insisting that his calling is to become a painter. Shulem’s granddaughter, Ruchami, marries without parental consent, an ultra-religious youth  committed to a life of study. And Giti, Shulem’s daughter, has conflicted feelings about her husband who abandoned the family and now has returned. The series proved to be so popular Netflx is considering a third season. Also, Amazon is thinking of doing a remake set in Brooklyn. 

Dov Glickman (Rabbi Shulem Shtisel), Michael Aloni (Akiva Shtisel), Neta Riskin (Giti Weiss),  Ayalet Zurer (Elisheva Rotstein), Shira Haas (Ruchami Weiss)
Why Stream This Film?
Shtisel brings to mind the American film Witness, which depicted the humanity and compassion of a fanatical Amish sect in Pennsylvania. The Haredim in both Israel and the U.S. receive much criticism about their rigid rules and lack of tolerance for liberal Jews. But this superbly made film affirms the truth that no matter how different we are, we all share common hopes and aspirations.       
  • Awards of the Israeli Television Academy, 2013: Best Drama Series; Best Actor in a Drama Series (Dov Glickman and Michael Aloni); Best Actress in a Drama Series (Neta Riskin and Ayelet Zurer); Best Directing in a Drama Series (Alon Zingman); Best Script in a Drama Series (Yehonatan Indursky, Ori Elon and Abut-Barkai-Telisma)

Now streaming on:

SHTISEL is by far not the first Hebrew TV series about Haredim, but it might be the first one that doesn’t solely occupy itself with surface characteristics of clothing and customs. While SHTISEL makes a great effort to get all the details of Haredi life right, the series does a great job letting all of these things fade into the background and just tell a great story about human beings and their daily lives.
Andre Klein

Film Journalist



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