Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Srugim Singles Swamp (continued)

**spoiler alert for episode 7**

The only show I consistently bother watching on broadcast TV is the weekly series of Srugim, the show about the Katamon religious singles swamp. Colleagues at work informed me that were going home early, to make sure they see it. Despite the buzz for the JBloggers convention, there is so much more buzz about Srugim.

From week to week, the show keeps getting better. It's definitely not a Jewish version of the "Friends" comedy show, but a stark depiction of real-life for this unfortunately-large community. The bittersweet beauty of the show is in its refusal to hide uncomfortable issues under the rug and approaches them head-on, though I'm sure some are disappointed by that decision (such as those who prefer to paint life in simple shades of black and white)

In last night's episode, Yif'at goes to a "mekubal" who informs her the reason she is having relationship problems is because her parents never had a kiddush in her honor when she was born. Dismayed, she goes across Jerusalem to a shul where no one knows her, so she can offer to host a shul kiddush on shabbat to resolve her shidduch and zivug crisis. Its amusing (though completely realistic) as the shul gabbi argues with her that she must bring kugel as well, and that a quiche wouldn't be acceptable without kugel. She angrily argues, "does G-d really care if I bring kugel or not?" He incredulously replies, "for something as important as a kiddush to resolve your shidduch problems, why wouldn't you bring kugel?!"

We watched the relationship evolve between Re'ut, the slightly rebellious, push-the-religious-envelope character... and Yochai, a student at Yeshivat Mekaz HaRav. Last week, Re'ut figuratively twisted Yochai's arm to teach her how to recite the Haftara, which she wants to be able to read at a women's tefilla group, in honor of her mother's yahrtzeit. Yochai, who normally teaches boys to prepare their bar miztva Torah readings, is adamant against against teaching Re'ut for reasons of tzniut (modesty) -- not wanting to hear her "sing" the haftara. She guilt-trips him into helping because she wants to honor her mother's memory, and he agrees that if he recites the haftara along with her, he'll be able to "look the other way" as she reads.

This week, Reut invites him to a Friday night "Ubiquitous Katamon Religious Singles Shabbat Dinner", complete with all the awkwardness of a new person showing up to a dinner where everyone already knows each other. To make matters worse, Yochai arrives slightly late -- just after a big fight where one of the roommates (Hodaya, daughter of a rabbi) defiantly turns off the light in the fridge (she forgot to turn it off before Shabbat). The primary roommate, Yif'at yells at her for desecrating the Shabbat and shouts that in her apartment, there will not be any chilul shabbat. Hodaya storms out.

After dinner, Re'ut asks Yochai to walk her home to her apartment...the climax being the "goodbye" scene when Re'ut invites Yochai up for coffee. He naturally and expectedly refuses, as one would expects of a student at Merkaz HaRav.

And then, with tension rising, surprising us all, he awkwardly kisses her, abruptly apologizes and flees down the block.

The look on Reut's face is priceless.

Instead of the expected happiness (attributing to her rebellious nature, wanting to go out with him, and wanting him to teach her to read the haftara, when it's becoming clear that she has ulterior motives), she has a look of querulous disappointment. As if saying, "this person I respect so much for his religious stature...has fallen..."

We're shocked and dismayed.

Did he let himself down? Will refuse to teach her or meet her again?

Did he let us down?





Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

84 comments:

Jerry said...

I think it's Hodaya's father who's a rabbi/rosh yeshiva.

Not quite defiant, but she feels a need to push the boundaries...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jerry - yes, I think you're correct. {I'll modify the post, though it doesn't really make a difference)

Lion of Zion said...

glock, m-16, whatever. it really doesn't matter, as i've completely lost all respect for you after this post. you sound like a teeny bopper who just got hooked on her first soap opera.

sigh. how the might have fallen. :)

Baila said...

Jameel,

Don't pay attention to LOZ, you are very welcome in our middle-aged teeny-bopper crowd, especially with the glock.

I love the show and have now taken to making sure that I am home on Monday nights to watch it since it seems the producers no longer want to put it on the Yes website (couldn't find it on the web anywhere).

Anyhow, what I love about it is how real it is. The light in the fridge was classic.

Wanna start a fan club?

tafka PP said...

Good you're all enjoying it. I know plenty of people who can't watch it anymore, because it makes them too depressed...

Eliezer StrongBad said...

it's true; when the series first came out it was the presentation of these issues that resonated w/ our community was amusing and entertaining, but now that we are through the looking glass and are deep into the characters' struggles and lack of success it becomes a little disheartening, but still good watching.

tzip said...

(un)fortunately ever since you first posted about srugim and got me interested, i can't stop watching the show.

i am pretty upset about how the show has gone downhill. while i admit that the struggles the characters face (and fail) are very tru to life, there is no positive depiction of dati'im.

how come the only normal (i.e. boyfriend material) guy on the show is the chiloni guy?

how come not one dati character is able to overcome his struggle and make religious life seem possible? worthwhile?

and the scene last week with amir and his ex just seemed totally out of the blue (and quite upsetting)

Eliezer StrongBad said...

I must say i was disappointed by that aspect as well. While I applaud the aspect of portraying that not everyone maintains boundaries of shomer negiah and the like, it would have been nice if there were some characters portrayed as maintaining their values in the face of hardship as opposed to painting a picture of inevitable descent due to a need for intimacy.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

tzip: The point of the show isn't to positively portray dati'im -- but to portray a bunch of complex characters. What exactly are you looking for in terms of positive?

The people on the series all have jobs, served in the army, and for the most part, are decent people. Yes, they have hangups, and aren't perfect, but who is?

Eliezer: t would have been nice if there were some characters portrayed as maintaining their values in the face of hardship as opposed to painting a picture of inevitable descent due to a need for intimacy.

As I wrote -- we were all disappointed by the Yochai character. However, even Re'ut was disappointed! I don't think the only theme is going to be about a need for intimacy, but keep in mind -- the show is about singles who want to get married. Everyone wants OUT of Katamon...so I see that theme as being very relevant, though I hope not exclusive.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Baila: I think it may be easier to watch this show and appreciate it once one is married and out of the swamp.

Eliezer StrongBad said...

I think Avri's offer to turn off the lights for Hodaya when she is at his apt Fri. night seems to be an allusion to his, perhaps, knowing she is religious

Commenter Abbi said...

I was about to ask this- has Hodaya told Avri yet? I guess not. I missed a few minutes last night.

To those are disappointed at not seeing portrayals of pple in their late thirties glowing with radiance or even successfully staying shomer negiya in their late twenties/early thirties- that's because those pple really don't exist, definitely not in this community. Having been in it on both sides of the Atlantic (Katamon's "sister city" on the UWS) this is the rock bottom reality of the human condition as lived in these communities- pple were not meant to go without physical contact of the opposite sex well into their thirties. It's just not normal.

On the yochai character- my husband noted that he wasnt' surprised, because he saw Reut as almost chiloni, and so allowed himself this "fall".

Tafka, i can definitely see how pple would be depressed watching this. It depressed me how familiar the character of Nati was. After he whined about how he doesn't know how feels, i said to the TV: "And now you will waste a year or more of Yifat's life while you "figure out" how you feel". Yes, I had that conversation way, way to many times with guys I was involved with.

JoeSettler said...

It's a very realistic show, except for the obvious lack of English speakers, who I think make up more than half of the Katamon scene.

curious in the u.s. said...

Is there a way yet for us over here in the states to see this? You Tube or something? I want to see it already!

tafka PP said...

Abbi- didn't we all...(Bringing new baby to Blogference??)

And yes, Jameel is right: Many single people in the "Bitza" (both the Israeli and the Anglo-Saxon versions- nb Joe, they don't overlap, for the large majority) can't actually watch it: It is simply too close to the bone...

Baila said...

Ah, yes I hadn't thought about the fact that I like the show from the safety of my marriage. Still, although it's been a while, I spent plenty of time in the trenches...

And Abbi you are so right about Nati. That he has to "figure it out" is bull. He is "just not that into her". She should get out while the goin's good...

Eliezer StrongBad said...

listen, nati is a bit of a jerk, but not by malice just obliviousness. sometimes guys have a hard time dealing with emotional stuff openly.

Cosmic X said...

When will they make a TV show with a truly positive religious character?

How about this: A religious guy leaves the flesh pot of America and moves to Israel. He becomes a successful high tech worker. He is married with children. On the side he is also a volunteer paramedic. Our hero decides to leave the comforts of Jerusalem or Kfar Sava to live in a settlement in the Shomron.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

curious in the us: re-read my post carefully.

Abbi: No, I dont think Hodaya told Avri yet. Do you think such a series could be written about the UWS? Or would it quickly degenerate into "Friends"...?

Tzip: Why do you consider Avri as the only "normal" guy? I didnt think so...then again, I'm not single :)

LoZ: Sorry dude. This show is totally not for teenagers or teeny-boppers. Its far more sophisticated than almost anything else Ive seen on TV. I put it in the same stageory as "The Unit", "24", "Lost" or "Prison Break"...in terms of quality.

Maybe better.

Eliezer StrongBad said...

hodaya hasn't told avri; the closest she came was right before he started trashing that charedi guy they saw in the movie theater and again when she was staying at his apt she said she would explain herself to him.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

CosmicX: That sounds SO boring...who would ever watch anything like that?!

Eliezer: My thoughts about Nati, exactly.

However....(Abbi and Baila)...while there are plenty of examples where you are correct, there are those few and far between times, where the guy just ends up marrying that girl out of inertia or familiarity.

See how good this show is? The characters are great...like them or hate them -- they are portraits of people we all know...(or combinations of them)

Commenter Abbi said...

Jameel, re: flaky guys; you might be right, that some end up marrying out of inertia, but most of those guys who made the "I don't know what I feel" speech to me back in the day, are actually, just not married. Sad for them, but "the guy who can't commit" because of emotional issues is no myth or mere tv character.

cosmic x: I can see it now: the main character will play the whole show with a smiley face mask, to allow the viewers to better use their imaginations.

mother in israel said...

You needed to post a "spoiler" disclaimer. . .

Rafi G said...

No Spoiler Alert????

BBJ said...

Uhhh...any chance of this coming out on DVD, with or without subtitles?

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Katamon (and surrounding) area for about 7 years during the 90's while I was single and I truly wish I could see the show, but I haven't found a way to watch it here in South Florida. It does sound very interesting and like something I would enjoy. DVD would be great!

In my experience, the English speakers and Hebrew speakers rarely mingle in Katamon, though there are plenty of singles in both groups. There are also all levels of frumkeit in the neighborhood.

I consider the years that I lived there to be some of the best years of my life. I made some very good friends, met and dated some interesting women, had many memorable meals, all while living in the heart of eternal Yerushalaim!

Mark

Lurker said...

Commenter Abbi: ...but "the guy who can't commit" because of emotional issues is no myth or mere tv character.

I would add that the girl who can't commit for the very same reasons is quite common as well -- even though the popular sterotype acribes this attitude to men only. From my own experience and observations (davka in the singles scene in Jerusalem), I have actually seen this more in women than I have in men.

Lurker said...

This is a fantastic and surprisingly realistic show. My wife and I are hooked on it.

I have a couple of criticisms on the last episode, though. These may be nitpicks, but I feel that they detracted from the overall believability.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

(1) When Yochai arrived late for dinner on Friday night, he made kiddush in the kitchen. Yochai is portrayed as a seriously frum Merkaz guy, so it does not make sense that he wouldn't have made kiddush in the dining dining room where they ate the meal, because of the halacha that kiddush should be made in one's makom se'udah.

(2) When Yochai indicated his unfamiliarity with the Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" reference, Nati acted surprised that Yochai didn't watch television. Anybody who lives in the dati world of Jerusalem knows very well that there are plenty of "right-wing" religious Jews who don't own a TV -- and Yochai clearly fits that type. Nati's surprise is just plain unrealistic.

(3) I do not think that Yochai's impulsive kiss of Reut was believable. A person from such a background would have been far too inhibited to do such a thing without, at the very minimum, some sort of signal from the girl that it was OK.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

1) Just as Yochai was very careful not to hurt one's feelings -- and he reluctantly agreed to teach Reut how to "lein" (and I think at the time, he did so not because of attraction), I think he was careful not to disturb those eating in the dining room, which is why he made kiddush in the kitchen.

2) There are all sorts of religious Jews on the entire spectrum. It definitely seems Nati is more on the liberal end, which could explain his unfamiliarity with Merkaz chardalim.

3) Well - Reut did ask Yochai why he wasn't married yet. Perhaps he has all sorts of character flaws we don't know about. And as I wrote - we were all disappointed (as was Reut!)...though I'm not sure it's out of the realm of possibility.

Lurker said...

Does anyone know if there's really a kabbalistic belief that making a shul kiddush on the birth of a daughter is a segulah for her finding a husband?

Just curious...

Lurker said...

Jameel: It definitely seems Nati is more on the liberal end, which could explain his unfamiliarity with Merkaz chardalim.

Sorry, I don't buy that one. Nati's being a more "liberal" dati can explain why he does/doesn't do certain things; but it can't explain him not being aware that chardalniks don't watch TV. Come on, everyone knows that.

Commenter Abbi said...

Lurker- as the saying goes, your mileage varies. I personally have only met one woman who couldn't commit, yet i met, and unfortunately had relationships with, numerous men who suffered from this particular emotional malady; which makes sense, since I think it's a well established fact that women mature faster than men and I think this trend continues well into adulthood.


See above for my husband's parshanut on Yochai's kiss.

Commenter Abbi said...

on the kiddush thing: I don't know if it's kabbalistic, but everyone warned me when I gave birth to my girls that I better get going with kiddush to make sure they didn't have shidduch problems later on.

I agree with you that it wasn't very likely that Nati couldn't believe that Yochai didn't have a tv.

Eliezer StrongBad said...

Perhaps, Nati was just struck by what he saw as a stark contrast between someone who would not watch TV, but WOULD go to a mixed singles meal in Katamon.

Lurker said...

Me: Does anyone know if there's really a kabbalistic belief that making a shul kiddush on the birth of a daughter is a segulah for her finding a husband?

In (partial) answer to my own question, I just found this story about the Steipler Gaon on Mail.Jewish.

Whether the story about the Steipler is true (R. Chaim Kanyevski, the Steipler's son, reportedly called the story "narishkeit"), the idea is clearly out there...

Lion of Zion said...

JAMEEL:

"This show is totally not for teenagers or teeny-boppers. Its far more sophisticated than almost anything else Ive seen on TV."

om my god. not only have you become a teeny bopper, but judging from this comments thread you've dragged down your whole audience with you. :)

chardal said...

>tzip: The point of the show isn't to positively portray dati'im -- but to portray a bunch of complex characters. What exactly are you looking for in terms of positive?

It also tried to be true to the reality of the bitza. There ARE people in the bitza who are makpid on halacha! Every single one of the charachters has at this point transgressed issues of negia (and worse) at one point or another. A realistic portrial would at least have one more conservative charachter.

Further, last week's episode with Amir and his ex was trully in poor taste. they have crossed the line. Especially since they set Amir up as one of the more makpid of the group and he falls so seriously?

Further, I don't but the false dicodomy that having complex charachters is at odds with portraying religious Jews in a good light (or at least as people who actually stand behind their convictions). They could have done both (and in my opinion should have). I like the show but the past two episodes were a major slip downhill.

Lurker said...

chardal: There ARE people in the bitza who are makpid on halacha! Every single one of the charachters has at this point transgressed issues of negia (and worse) at one point or another. A realistic portrial would at least have one more conservative charachter...
They could have done both (and in my opinion should have).


I agree with this. There is nothing wrong with showing characters with weaknesses, who fail to adhere to their principles. But to show them all like that is a misrepresentation. I hope the show will be correcting for this imbalance in the future.

Anonymous said...

To Chardal,

As someone who lives in the Bitza, let me tell you that your comments seem a little judgmental.

Yes, there are plenty of people who "actually stand behind their convictions in the Bitza"- but you must acknowledge that you don't know what goes on behind closed doors for even the most Makpid. Let me tell you that you'd be surprised how resonant this show actually is. Yes, even Makpid divorced people "slipping up" when they see their ex, the one person they've ever been intimate with, after nobody has held them in months... Yes, even very Makpid people suddenly acting on an impulse - then living to regret it for months, quite possibly... I think that if anything, Srugum has demonstrated how even the most Makpid people are liable to slip up on occasion, not that that is their default. I certainly don't perceive Amir or Yochai or Yifat as less true to their Torah convictions as a result of their respective transgressions- just more human, and to my mind (and I imagine to the mind of most people who actually live within this reality) that isn't a contradiction at all.

And let's not forget before we judge: Negia is the hardest thing to abide by in the world. It is wholly unnatural and was certainly not intended for intelligent adults in their 30's, yes, even the most Makpid ones.

A last point. By and large, the audience for this show has been comprised of religious people, apparently. So the people watching are more than aware of the complexities of this lifestyle.

chardal said...

>- but you must acknowledge that you don't know what goes on behind closed doors for even the most Makpid.

acknowledged. But neither do you nor does the director. But he IS portraying scenes behind closed doors! I am not asking for a show about the 36 hidden tzaddikim! Just for one charachter who rises to the challenge.

>Yes, even Makpid divorced people "slipping up" when they see their ex, the one person they've ever been intimate with

Why in the world is slipping up in quotes??? This is a horrible aveira and while I am sure such things have happened before and will happen again, it is, at best, a marginal phenomenon. Frankly, it someone frightens me that there are religious Jews to which such scenes "ring true". Most people in my community would be horrified by such a scene.

>I think that if anything, Srugum has demonstrated how even the most Makpid people are liable to slip up on occasion

We don't need srugim to demonstrate this. We already know this. Besides, I am not asking for a show about tzaddikim. Just a show with at least one charachter who struggles and triumphs instead of struggles and falls!

>I certainly don't perceive Amir or Yochai or Yifat as less true to their Torah convictions as a result of their respective transgressions

Uh? What does being true to convictions mean to you? Unless you mean that they have no cognitive dissonance regarding their religiosity and the fact that they routinly cross the bounds of halacha. If they suffer no feelings of guilt and are not aware of the bediAvad nature of their existance, then they have shifted from human to something which is only wrothy of my contempt.

> It is wholly unnatural and was certainly not intended for intelligent adults in their 30's, yes, even the most Makpid ones. <

You are partially right. It is unnatural (you are wrong in that of course those laws were intended for people of all levels of inteligence and of all ages). They should be less picky and get married already. Rather, they are (mostly) immature late teenagers who don't even know what they are looking for (and seem to also not be aware what their convictions should be). I am sorry if I don't consider such charachters to be worthy of high levels of respect.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Chardal; your criticism of older singles sounds like XGH...

However, the question is -- what is the point of Maaleh and religious film directors.

Is the point to davka further their ideals and to advertise the dati-leumi ideology? Once upon a time, I believed that to be the purpose of Maaleh.

Over time, I have become more pragmatic. Maaleh is a religious film school, in that one can learn film in a religious environment (and it's a million times better in terms of environment for a religious Jew, than say, the Tel Aviv University Film school).

I don't think the director or the graduates of Maaleh are on a mission to be mikarev the world and "sell" the idea of religion.

Creating a pool of excellent religious talent in the media arts is the first step.

Perhaps the next step will be contracting them for the sorts of lofty goaled projects you have in mind.

chardal said...

>Chardal; your criticism of older singles sounds like XGH...

oy, that stings. However, it is one of the few areas that XGH may have right. Look, when someone reaches age 30 and still does not know what they are looking for and when they reject person after person after person, then is it so far off to say that the problem is with the older single and NOT with the majority community who somehow have figured out how to find someone to marry 5,6,7,8 years earlier?

As far as Maaleh. I am not asking them all to work for aish here. But to say that they have no ethical responsibility to their community is another extereme. My question is, why does EVERY major charachter fail in this area of halacha. I have no doubt that many many do fail in real life. But would it be so difficult to have one charachter who does not? Would it be difficult to not have a charachter having relations with his ex? If he really wants to show the complexity of life in the bitza ... heck, there is the stoner contingent he seemed to miss. The american contingent. The fact that he does not represend everything means that he has some criteria. The fact that the writer/director's criteria is such that every charachter from the near datlash hodaya to the merkaznik fail in the very same way, means that he is not even correctly representing the types he has created (and he admits in interviews that these charachters are "types." so yes, while I am sure there have been and will be merkaznics who kiss girls, it is very not representative of the type). All in all, I think it is a good show, but I hope it recovers from the drop of standards in the last two episodes.

(also, the director, in his interview to beSheva seemed to emphasize and reEmphasize that this is a tzanua show. I do not see how he can continue to declare such a thing after the scene of Amir and his Ex!)

Anonymous said...

To Chardal,

I read your points, and would respond by saying that the only conclusion I can arrive at is that you, along with the community you claim to belong to, are very clearly and woefully out of touch with what it means to be over 30, frum and single, in Jerusalem or anywhere else. If you'd prefer to remain that way and continue to cast such facile and sweeping judgments, well, בהצלחה.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Chardal: Our yishuv recently hosted an "older" singles shabbaton, and I dont think the average person was overly picky. Some were divorced singles as well. And many of them from Katamon.

I will be taking questions from the audience of commenters for my upcoming EXCLUSIVE interview with the Srugim Director, Laizy Shapiro.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous; Are there any merkaz harav types in the Katamon beitza?

tafka PP said...

Chardal- do you seriously think that every single religious person living in the Israeli/Anglo swamp remains there out of choice simply because they are too picky or they have personality problems?!

Goodness. Have you ever actually expressed that to anyone in that situation, face to face? I don't fancy your chances much...

Commenter Abbi said...

"a marginal phenomenon." ??!! Dude, Chardal, either you live in Har Nof and have never left the mountain, or you yourself transgressed mightily as a single and project your heavy judgementalism on others as a way of punishing yourself/assuaging your own guilt, or you're just simply myopic.

Transgressing negiah is by no means a "marginal phenomenon" in the frum community. Get over it. Srugim is pretty much what goes on in the Katamon scene. I would say someone who doesn't transgress is the exception.

Anonymous said...

To Jameel,

Certainly there are many frum, apparently Negia singles, but I believe the very conservative ones like the character Yochai (who wouldn't watch TV, for example) tend to live in areas like Kiryat Moshe rather than in Katamon, so the director also got that right in that respect.

I will say again that despite what some of your other readers may have said, it is a very representative series and that this is a useful discussion you are holding.

chardal said...

>Transgressing negiah is by no means a "marginal phenomenon"

I was talking about Amir sleeping with his ex. not negia, which unfortunatly is not a marginal phenomenon. (even in har nof)

Lion of Zion said...

what is "Bitza"?

i'll go with hardal in this one.

chardal said...

I will not continue the picky singles discussion since I don't think any toelet will come of it. However, I will just add, that this series has influenced me in one very important direction.

I will do everything in my power to make sure my kids don't end up in that little subculture even if it kills me.

Commenter Abbi said...

Your previous post was not clear.

In any case, the issue is not whether the characters are wholly representative of the katamon community (which for the most part they are ) or whether they engage in activities that are wholly or marginally representative of that community. The issue is whether their behavior is plausible. Which it is. It's plausible for a rabbi's daughter to fall in love with a chiloni guy and generally rebel. It's plausible for ex spouses to have "one more for the road". Is this what most religious pple do? Impossible for me to say, since I've never done such a survey. But judging by basic human behavior, i doubt it's as marginal as you claim it to be.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

LoZ: A bitza is a swamp...what the Katamon religious singles culture is called. Maybe you should learn Hebrew instead of insulting my TV preferences :-)

Anonymous: Not all the readers think that the shomer negiya aspect is off-base...(I wouldnt be blogging about the series if I didnt like it, and I think this is a good weekly type of post/discussion to have).

Please keep on coming back and commenting - your point of view is important.

Chardal: Remember, the most important thing you can do to ensure your daughter's don't end up in the Katamon bitza...is to make sure you have a kiddush for them (with kugel).

chardal said...

>Remember, the most important thing you can do to ensure your daughter's don't end up in the Katamon bitza...is to make sure you have a kiddush for them (with kugel).<

It has to be yerushalmi kugel for it to work.

Commenter Abbi,

Judging by the near universal revulsion which that scene generated among even those who love the series (check out the hebrew forum sites). I think you are wrong. That scene was completely over the top and was more worthy of a daytime soap than this kind of series.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Chardal: Do you have a link handy on a Hebrew discussion about that scene?

Thanks!

(And of course only yerushalmi kugel...mushroom quiche would be a bad, bad thing)

Commenter Abbi said...

Hmm, Chardal, I thought you were finished picking apart this show...

As for being "wrong", I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be wrong about. I'm sorry if it's hard for you to believe that religious pple stumble, make mistakes, don't live every second of their life according to the SA and still walk around with kippot and funky hair coverings. The fact that the show's fans expressed revulsion at last week's scene (i hope that's what you're referring to) proves nothing except that there are lots of other religious pple who have trouble accepting this fact as well.

As for your children- I have a newsflash for you: Unless you're presently working on arranged marriages for them, once they hit 18, they are free to choose whatever lifestyle they want. The world holds much worse options than the katamon singles scene.

Lurker said...

Chardal: Judging by the near universal revulsion which that scene generated among even those who love the series...

What do you mean by "revulsion"? That they disapproved of Amir's behavior? Of that they thought the scenario was implausible and therefore out of place? Those are two very different things, obviously. I find David HaMelekh's behavior in the incident with Batsheva to be "repulsive", but that doesn't mean that I find it implausible.

chardal said...

they (generally) seem to feel it is not representative of the community in any significant way and that it adds nothing to the story or to the charachter.

plausibility is a pretty low standard. Its also plausible that some people in katamon are cocaine addicts but if Nati starts sniffing cocaine on the show (just to stay awake during those long night shifts), it would not be appropriate.

chardal said...

>sorry if it's hard for you to believe that religious pple stumble, make mistakes, don't live every second of their life according to the SA <

What is amazing to me is that you seem to really put in the same category someone who forgets to say a bracha or who give a hug to a girl with someone who sleeps with his ex wife after their divorce. Newsflash - that is an extreme level of impropriety to religious people accross the specturm.

Yes, I can accept people are not perfect. I can accept that the katamon community is not perfect/unnatural/yada yada. That scene was beyond the pale. Further, the complete lack of even ONE charachter who does live up to their ideals is not excusable. I know people who live in katamon. I know that some of them are very makpid on such issues. That they are not represented on the show just means that the director seems to feel that you can not make a complex charachter without comprimazing their religiosity - and that is a shame.

chardal said...

Jameel, its on several forum sites on the net. Just a quick google search brought up this (short) one:

http://www.fxp.co.il/showthread.php?t=1897946

(even those who thought that scene was no big deal think its not realistic)

Anonymous said...

i actually just noticed on the intro song there is a scene of amir giving na'ama a get. i guess (as of episode 6) they were not yet officially divorced at the time of their "transgression." it still was pretty uncalled for, but i guess less problematic halachically (assuming she was tehorah)

RivkA with a capital A said...

What is not realistic about Amir and his ex is that if they had spontaneous/unexpected relations, then the ex was almost surely Nida.

Someone serious about halacha would not be so casual about something that is Issur Karet.

(There. I said it. Hang me.)

Anonymous said...

good point rivkA.

ok - check out this scene from episode 9. avri with a kippa on! haha! he looks ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

oops - forgot the link.

http://yes.walla.co.il/?w=1/7530/1324203

Lurker said...

RivkA with a capital A: What is not realistic about Amir and his ex is that if they had spontaneous/unexpected relations, then the ex was almost surely Nida.

We don't know the full extent of what they actually did...

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 12:40 AM -- you should give a spoiler alert with something like that. You did say that the clip was from episode 9, but the rest of your comment is an implicit spoiler in itself.

Lurker said...

And as long as you brought it up -- I'm not so sure that Avri really wore a kippah...

jaime said...

Alright, I had to laugh when I just read what you wrote here ...

"After dinner, Re'ut asks Yochai to walk her home to her apartment...the climax being the "goodbye" scene when Re'ut invites Yochai up for coffee."

Ok, was I the only one to think ... gee, not the greatest choice of words to use when describing this scene.

Sorry - had to point that out. : )

Lion of Zion said...

JAMEEL:

"Maybe you should learn Hebrew"

that's not a joke. i recently realized that i lack the vocabulary to converse adequately with my 3 1/2 year old. i didn't t think my conversational hebrew was that bad, but i was in the ice cream store with him and i didn't know how to say cone, sprinkles, scooper, pistachio, etc.

"instead of insulting my TV preferences"

well since you've brought it up again . . . on another thread i saw that RG made a reference to your desires to be a ballerina. i was going to comment that considering your infatuation with this soap opera, you might as well be a ballerina. but then he must have realized that he confused you with a commentor who actually wanted to be a ballerina and he deleted the comment. so i didn't make my comment. but here i did

Lion of Zion said...

JAMEEL:

"I don't think the director or the graduates of Maaleh are on a mission to be mikarev the world and "sell" the idea of religion."

hollywood (or whatever you call the israeli version), and artistic expression of any medium in general, is about entertainment. but it also has an agenda.

there would be nothing wrong if maaleh's production were also clouded by an agenda. i haven't seen the show (and i will not), but would it really kill the story (or be inaccurate) if there were one goody-too-shoes?

i write this having seen a lot of israeli movies--they are mostly crap, but it was an education experience to improve my conversational hebrew (see previous comment)--and noticing that religious characters are generally absent, and when they are present it is often in a farcical or altogether negative light. it seems to me israeli hollywood could use something on the other extreme to balance out the picture

Commenter Abbi said...

"That scene was beyond the pale. "

Chardal- Sorry, what is exactly is "beyond the pale"? Charedi child molesters are a regular fact of REAL LIFE (go ask those poor kids in Brooklyn). Should we not talk about them because they're "beyond the pale" and frum pple don't do those things?

I don't think Laizy Shapiro or anyone else has the responsibility to "represent" me or my religious beliefs on TV or anywhere else. The only responsibility he has is towards his artistic expression, so yes plausibility is the one of the main factors that form the basis of whether they show is good or not (that and good writing, acting, etc.) Demanding that he have a goody two shoes on the show reminds me of pple who whine when there isn't enough "multi-cultural" representation on Sesame Street, etc.

LOZ: Once again, I take issue with your assertion that Israeli movies are crap. Your comment shows that you haven't watched any Israeli movies from at least the last ten years,and if you have, then the subtitles weren't very good. I can give you a long list ( i think i have already on your blog) of very good, nay, excellent Israeli movies.

Lion of Zion said...

ABBI:

"Once again, I take issue with your assertion that Israeli movies are crap . . ."

i've seen some really good ones. but mostly, IMHO, they're crap. i've seen the classics and the more recent ones.

"the subtitles weren't very good."

my hebrew isn't that bad

"i think i have already on your blog"

i havent't had time to watch israeli dvds since then

Anonymous said...

To Jameel,

Thank you. I'll continue to check for future discussions.


To Chardal,

Good luck with raising your children "right." A piece of advice: Maybe teach them that all Jews, even those who find themselves over 30 and single, are worthy of their respect? Otherwise, while they may not be stuck in the Bitza, they'll have no friends.

Lurker said...

LoZ: ...considering your infatuation with this soap opera, you might as well be a ballerina.

Getting a little childish, aren't we?

LoZ: i haven't seen the show (and i will not)...
i write this having seen a lot of israeli movies--they are mostly crap...


How about staying away from the crappy movies and watching something quality instead for a change? Like this show.

Lurker said...

cA: ...I take issue with your assertion that Israeli movies are crap.

He must have been watching Israeli comedies. They really are crap...

Lion of Zion said...

LURKER:

"Getting a little childish, aren't we?"

pretend there was a little smiley face after my statement. i was just kidding around (i.e., intentionally being childish)

chardal said...

>Chardal- Sorry, what is exactly is "beyond the pale"?

oh, I don't know...

"religious" child molestors, jewel thieves, crack addicts, and yes, people who generally consider major issurei arrayos to be ok and no big deal. Why don't you get this through your head. There is an honest way to represent a community and there is cynical way. To show people hugging in the bizza is real. To show Amir and his ex ... is bogus and does not ring true for 99% of the people in the community, accross the spectrum from datiloni to chardal.

>A piece of advice: Maybe teach them that all Jews, even those who find themselves over 30 and single, are worthy of their respect?<

gee. Thanks for the chinuch advice. and you don't even know me! shuks.

BTW, if you think that the main goal of chinuch is to teach tollerance for all forms of behavior, not matter how outside the pale of the values you are trying to communicate. Then it seems to me that you are forcing your kids into a high level of cognitive dissonence.

As for respect. We have single 30 years olds over for shabbes all the time. I don't remember the last time I "dissed" them in front of my kids. However, that does not mean that I will not give them a clear message of what is expected of them in this world.

How about this. Next time I feel like I need parenting advice from an anonymous commentator on a blog. I will ask first. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

To Chardal,

Well, you don't know me, and still seem to think you have a right to give me a "clear message of what is expected of them in this world."

If I may remind you, it was you who first commented in an offensive and presumptious manner about the Bitza, and later, 30+ singles and their motivations. I would not have been moved to comment otherwise, I have never done so before.

Good luck with the Chinuch of your children. And if you're going to accuse me of forcing people into cognitive dissonance, at least spell it properly.

A final point- regarding your argument with another commenter- I'm afraid you are the one with the "bogus" view. I've had divorced roommates and have plenty of divorced friends who would happily argue that fact with you, albeit discreetly.

Shabbat Shalom.

Eliezer StrongBad said...

this was a nice comment thread about an entertaining and thought-provoking program. can all parties please attmept to keep an air of civility for the sake of ongoing discussion.

Lurker said...

chardal: ...people who generally consider major issurei arrayos to be ok and no big deal... To show Amir and his ex ... is bogus and does not ring true for 99% of the people in the community...

While I don't think there exists a requirement to be dan l'kaf zechut for a fictional character, it is possible, however. A few points to consider:

(1) We don't know whether Amir and his "ex" actually had sexual relations in that incident. We didn't even see any signs that clothing was removed. All we saw was that afterward, they were adjusting their kippa and kisui rosh, respectively. That might indicate nothing more than a heavy "make-out" session.

(2) Amir moved out of their apartment only a short time earlier (in episode 1; this was episode 6). He quite probably has not given her a get yet, since the procedure in the Rabbanut often takes months (even when the divorce is amicable). Thus, they are most likely still married.

(3) Given (2), it is possible that Amir's wife has not stopped going the mikveh yet. Alternatively, it is quite possible that she is not even a nida yet: We don't know how much time has passed since episode 1; it might be less than a month -- or she might be late.

(4) Even assuming that she was a nida when they got "hot and heavy", but that they didn't have sex -- she may well have gone to the mikveh between then and when Amir showed up on her doorstep again. Given (2), this would pe perfectly permissible according to halacha.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

this was a nice comment thread about an entertaining and thought-provoking program. can all parties please attmept to keep an air of civility for the sake of ongoing discussion.

Yes, what he said.

When things degenerate here into a mudslingfest, it really takes out the fun of blogging.

I'm going to continue blogging about the show, since I current;y enjoy watching it.

Real Life is complex. And so is the show. Agree with it or not, but it definitely has hit a raw nerve, if people get so upset that they're arguing here on my blog.

This blog isn't supposed to be for mudslinging...

RivkA with a capital A said...

hmmmm -- mudslinging about the bitza (swamp)

Hadassa said...

As a relatively new to the bitza I watch srugim almost out of morbid fascination....in some ways it IS like seeing my life on TV (although I am a bit younger than the characters). Amir's ex's comment about the 11:1 (girl:guy) ratio at shabbat meals was classic....& oh so true!

But I think a TV show that focuses intensely on ANY community, potraying its negative aspects very realistically is going to make uncomfortable viewing for people living in that community and spark a whole debate about the "social issues" in that community. It just so happens to be the katamon singles community being shown.

Single in Katamon said...

As a single 20-something your old living in Katamon I enjoy watching Srugim - but there are many things different in my experiences...

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