Archive for the ‘Two Jews, Three Shuls’ Category

Haredi TV Drama Poised as Breakout Hit

January 24, 2014

This post first appeared on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.

Blog-shtisel-012414“Shtisel,” the Israeli television drama about a Haredi family in Jerusalem, is a breakout hit not only in Israel, but now also internationally.

It was announced this week that foreign broadcast and distribution rights for the series have been acquired by Pretty Pictures in France and Axess TV in Sweden. The deal was carried out on behalf of the Israeli production by Dori Media and Go2Films.

“Shtisel” — which won 10 awards at the 2013 Israeli Television Academy Awards — is being shown this week as part of the 27th annual FIPA International Festival of Audiovisual Programs in Biarritz, France. In March, it will begin a tour of Jewish film festivals, beginning with the Washington Jewish Film Festival in early March.

The series, which portrays Haredi life in great detail, has struck a chord with viewers of all types of religious backgrounds. One secular Jewish viewer told the Forward last year that he was drawn to “Shtisel” because of the universal sensibilities it highlights despite its extremely particular setting. “The Haredim are portrayed as people with all the emotional struggles and difficulties as their secular counterparts,” he said.

Click here to read more and watch the new extended trailer for the series (with English subtitles).

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

US Teen Contest Winners Reflect on Praying with WoW

January 3, 2014

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Eliza Moss-Horwitz, Lucy Sattler and Alexandra Schwartz pray with Women of the Wall. Schwartz (right) holds an empty Torah cover beneath her prayer book, symbolizing the Torah scroll the group was prevented from bringing in to the Kotel plaza. (photo credit: Courtesy of Moving Traditions)

Eliza Moss-Horwitz, Lucy Sattler and Alexandra Schwartz pray with Women of the Wall. Schwartz (right) holds an empty Torah cover beneath her prayer book, symbolizing the Torah scroll the group was prevented from bringing in to the Kotel plaza. (photo credit: Courtesy of Moving Traditions)

The three American Jewish teens who won a contest to join the Women of the Wall at the Kotel Thursday say they will never forget the experience.

Eliza Moss-Horwitz, Lucy Sattler and Alexandra Schwartz were brought to Israel by Moving Traditions, a Philadelphia-based organization advocating for a more expansive view of gender in Jewish learning and practice.

The trio joined 200 members and supporters at the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Hodesh service January 2 marking the beginning of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

The service took place with little disturbance. However, the women were denied permission to enter the Western Wall plaza with a Torah scroll.

“It was one of the most incredible days of my life,” said Moss-Horwitz, 16, of Northampton, Massachusetts. “In school we talk about people making change, but here I was actually seeing people making change.”

“It was empowering to see all these women fighting together for something so significant and relevant,” said 15-year-old Sattler, who was in Israel for a five-day visit from Evanston, Illinois.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

US Teens Win Contest to Pray With Women of the Wall

January 1, 2014

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Members of Women of the Wall perform their monthly Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Western Wall, on December 4, 2013. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Members of Women of the Wall perform their monthly Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Western Wall, on December 4, 2013. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

There will be three new faces among the members and supporters ofWomen of the Wall as they celebrate the new Hebrew month, Rosh Hodesh Shevat, at the Western Wall on January 2. Lucy Sattler, Alexandra Schwartz and Eliza Moss-Horwitz are winners of a contest for Jewish teens sponsored by Moving Traditions, a Philadelphia-based organization advocating for a more expansive view of gender in Jewish learning and practice.

The contest, called “One Moon, One Wall, One People,” was launched last May. It challenged the 4,000 members of Moving Traditions’ Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! andShevet Achim: The Brotherhood groups all over North America to speak out creatively in support of Women of the Wall. In the first stage of the competition, the teens had to come up with a clever tweeted slogan supporting the organization and its mission.

Twenty finalists chosen from among 151 tweeters were asked to tape one-minute videos of themselves making the case for why the Western Wall should be a place where all Jewish men and women – Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, or Independent – should be allowed to pray in full freedom.

Sattler, Schwartz and Moss-Horwitz’s messages were outstanding, winning the teens free trips to Israel for them and one of their parents. In addition to joining Women of the Wall for the Rosh Hodesh service, they will also meet with chairwoman Anat Hoffman and the rest the group’s leadership at a lunch afterwards.

“Many of us have celebrated Rosh Hodesh with Women of the Wall, or have tracked their struggle over the years, and it has made us enraged, saddened, and hopeful,” Moving Traditions executive director Deborah Meyer tells The Times of Israel.

“I was talking to one of our board members, and we cooked up this campaign to bring the issue to the attention of the teens in our programs,” she says.

“It’s part of our agenda to expose kids to a whole spectrum of gender issues in religious and secular life, and also to give them a forum to connect with and contribute to Israel,” Meyer continues. “We are not afraid of turning kids off Israel by exposing them to the complexity of what life is really like there. You can love a country and still be concerned about what is happening in it.”

The Times of Israel caught up with the three winners either en route to Israel or shortly after they arrived, to learn a bit more about them and find out what winning the “One Moon, One Wall, One People” contest means to them.

 Click here to read about each of the girls and watch their winning videos.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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