Israeli Television to Enjoy

Only Israel could produce a television drama series in which secular Jewish actors portray ultra-orthodox Jewish characters whose lines are composed by Jewish screenplay writers under the supervision of a Muslim Arab (the renowned comic writer Saad Kashuya, who spoke here in Kansas City a number of years ago). I’m referring to the wonderful series “Shtisl,” which can be accessed via Netflix.

The series’ two central characters are a recently widowed father and his young adult son, both a bit on the eccentric side, who share an apartment in a Haredi neighborhood. The cast is rounded out by siblings and their families, whose daily lives are woven into various plots and sub-plots to form an entertaining tapestry of life’s ups and downs, set in modern-day Jerusalem.

On a lark, I stumbled across the series while surfing Netflix’s extensive library, and after having a look-see quickly became hooked. I’ve now viewed the entire first season (12 hour-long segments) and I’m two-thirds into the second. I can only speak for myself: this show is right in my wheelhouse, a veritable cornucopia of several elements of Yiddishkeit near to my heart: traditional religious culture, Hebrew and Yiddish, and memorable Jerusalem vistas. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do. But I think you’ll find it hard not to enjoy its unique charms.