It’s a show about family life in the cloistered Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem called Shtisel (pronounced shteezel), the main character’s family name. The series has no nudity, sex, violence or car chases, and yet has gained a huge international following. What makes this Israeli-produced television program about the Haredi community so popular?
First aired in 2013 on Israel’s Yes television network, the show gave Israel’s majority secular population an unprecedented look into the behind-the-scenes family drama of the nation’s insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish world. What is perhaps even more interesting is that Haredi communities, where it is forbidden to even own or watch a television, are finding ways to watch the show about themselves and openly discuss every detail on social media.
The first two seasons won massive acclaim at the Israeli Television Academy Awards, but it wasn’t until this past December, when Netflix picked up the show, that Shtisel became a worldwide sensation.
Some of Shtisel’s popularity stems...
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