Monday, September 08, 2008

Live Blogging Srugim 12

****Spoiler Alert******

Hmm, so Amir slept over. He's happily making breakfast, singing a tune while chopping salad. They go for a walk around the yishuv. They both look very happy, playing house.

Back to Nati at Ein Karem, where he's informed that he was chosen by a donor to represent the residents at a fundraising meeting.He doesn't want to go, but then is told that the last person chosen for this role was also sent to Mount Sinai hospital for an internship. He quickly accepts.

Back to Reut and Yochai. Yochai informs her that he's going into his uncle's office supply business. Reut is not happy. How can he stop learning? They get into an amazing discussion about learning vs. working. He's like "I'm almost thirty I have to start working". She's like "How can you go into sales and stop learning Torah?" Go Laizy for exploring the essence of modern Orthodoxy!

Then back to Nati and Amir. Amir is once again eating a salad- man he eats a lot of salad.

Nati tells him about how the daughter of donor who hosted the fundraising meeting hit on him and this starts a new storyline between him and the rich chick who drives a mercedes?!!! Whoa. She runs a Gemach of leftover rich people's clothes. They go on a date.


Yifat comes back for shabbat. Yay! At dinner the girls inform Nati that he was ambushed by the rich girl (She spotted him at Ohel Necahama, the singles shul and gather a lot of intel on him) He realizes that the fundraising meeting was kind of a set up for her father to check him out and he's upset about this. Yifat and Amir keep quiet about themselves, but Amir is upset about this. When Amir asks about this she says it's not you it's me.

Yifat and Hodaya are reading by the bathroom light (of course, Makor Rishon!)

Towards the end, Nati is anxious to make havdala because he wants to call Nitzan, the rich girl, to tell her off (he feels like she's using him, though it's not clear why?) He calls and Nizan kind of takes control of the conversation and tells him she'll pick him in an hour.

The show ends with Yifat back in the yishuv.

I missed a lot of details. Please feel free to fill them in in the comments.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

45 comments:

RivkA with a capital A said...

What happened to the "SPOILER ALERT" at the top of this post??!!

Baila said...

Nice, Abbi, even if you did spoil it for RivkA ;)

At the end, Nati was going to break up with Nitzan because he felt so used, but didn't when she mentioned he was going to get to Mount Sinai. Hmm. Now who's using who?

Amir is always eating salad. And what's with Nati eating from his bowl? That's a very female thing to do.

I just don't see Reut and Yochai together. She needs a stronger man, and honestly, he's annoying me. I did like there discussions about learning Torah vs. making money and when Yochai self-deprecatinly (sp?) admitted he was no Rashi.

And I miss Avri.

Anonymous said...

with 3 sessions to go, what's going to be with Hodaya


with 3 more sessions to go, anything going to happen wih Hodaya & Avri?

Commenter Abbi said...

I'm really sorry rivka! I forgot, it was late. :(. I'll put it up now.

Commenter Abbi said...

Baila- i noticed the salad thing too! He is always eating salad and Nati is always mooching! But Nati is a moocher, that's nothing new. What was up with Nitzan's weird Victorian shirt? I thought there was a charedi storyline being introduced. Who wears shirts like that?

Commenter Abbi said...

(Baila- I wish my husband would come home from work and make himself a salad- unfortunately, it always seems to be a salami sandwich. :/)

I think the whole Nati and Nitzan thing is an example of users using each other.

RR said...

My husband and I love this show. I have to agree with Baila re. the salad thing- it's such a girly thing to do! And I also agree re. Yochai and Reut- I can't see them together and he IS annoying.

I was a bit taken aback when Yifat and Amir ran away from the "terrorists"- HOLDING HANDS! Hello?

Jerusalemcop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerusalemcop said...

I must say that this episode wasn't as good as some of the others. It seemed to be more of a "filler" than anything else.

Hopefully next weeks episode will be better.

And whats with Amir still meeting with Naama? I thought he stopped their "encounters" a while ago.

I also thought that the running together holding hands part was a bit much, BUT...when Amir held out his hand to help Yifat up onto the rock that she had trouble climbing was very reminiscent of the first episode when Hodaya told the story about Betzalel and the Nachal. We know that Betzalel is a jerk, but when Amir is in the same type of situation, we see that he is truly a gentleman.

I think Jameel needs to talk to Laizy about having some positive scenes with Americans. The two we have seen so far were Stacy the lesbian with the tfillin in the first ep and now an American guy yelling at his brothers for getting lost while visiting Maale Elisha.

Its very sad that the season will be over soon. This show is great.

Jcop

Baila said...

I thought that was Jameel playing the American character. Notice how they didn't quite show his face?

Jerusalemcop said...

Jameel was actually one fo the younger brothers who looked like an Arab

Jcop

RivkA with a capital A said...

Just saw the episode, and came back to read the post.

I have some thoughts about the episode, content wise, but will have to post later.

Funny, I didn't really notice the salad thing until you all pointed it out.

I actually thought the eating from someone else's plate was an Israeli guy thing. I wouldn't want someone sticking their fork into my food (except maybe family members).

Lurker said...

Abbi -- very nice summary. I didn't look at it till now, because I didn't get to see the episode until this evening.

A few thoughts:

Regarding Reut's discomfort with Yochai's new job: Reut was enchanted with Yochai davka because he's an innocent yeshiva guy who sits and learns. (Remember her impressed description to Yifat and Hodaya: "All he's got in his room are sifrei kodesh!") This was her basis for choosing Yochai over another guy who was much more her "type" (in the very funny "reality TV" sequence). But Yochai's relationship with Reut has now motivated him to alter his lifestyle. Ironically, in trying to make himself more suitable for Reut, he is actually eliminating the very aspects of himself that attracted Reut in the first place. The die seems to be cast, and I think their breakup is now inevitable.

I've noticed that Srugim makes very effective use of symbolic items. For example, different aspects of Amir's personality, as well as the state of his psyche, are represented by items of clothing that he wears:

* Amir's glasses represent his inhibitions. Thus, the camera focuses on his glasses when Amir and his ex engage in their first post-marital tryst. Also, when he was going out with Reut's sister, he made a point of not wearing his glasses (which Nati comments on).

* Amir's kippa represents how he is seen by others and by himself. In the "kippa" story, Amir notices that some girls he greeted after shul on Shabbat completely ignore him -- which turns out to be because he has lost his kippa. As a temporary replacement, he gets a white soupbowl kippa, which represents a spiritual aspect of his soul of which he was never previously aware. This kippa draws the attention of the Carlebach guys, and ends up compelling him to peer deep into himself, coming face-to-face with his spiritual and emotional longings (as expressed by his crying niggun).

* Amir's tallit represents religious purity, especially the purity of marriage. This makes particular sense in light of the Ashkenazi custom that only a married man wears a tallit. The Sefaradi Amir adopts this custom, since he davens in an Ashkenazi minyan, but then effectively "lies" by continuing to wear the tallit after his divorce. And accordingly, the mysterious stain on his tallit represents the stain on his soul -- his deep sense of guilt over continuing his sexual relationship with his ex. In his nightmare, the laundry guy holds up his tallit and denounces him for deception: "You're divorced!" he yells at Amir, as he holds up the stained tallit, while his ex taunts him. In the end, we see that Amir has finally accepted the truth of his divorce, when we see him davening in shul without the tallit.

* And in this episode, we have Amir's tie. This tie represents his failed marriage, and ties in general represent relationships. (This is actually a subtle linguistic play -- the knot which one makes on a tie is a kesher in Hebrew, which is also the word for "relationship". This sort of works in English, too, with the word "tie" itself.) Amir wore his tie only once, at his wedding. When he gives it to Nati to wear at the fundraising evening, Amir warns him that the tie is "bad luck". After the tie gets dirty, Nitzan gives him a new one, and offers to help him make the knot (kesher); i.e., she is seeking to establish a relationship with him. Nati tells Amir that the tie is being cleaned, and that he'll get it back on motzaei Shabbat. But by this point, Amir has begun a new relationship with Yifat, and has broken off his trysts with his ex. That's why he tells Nati that he doesn't want the tie back. But on Shabbat, Yifat withdraws emotionally from Amir, and he is no longer so confident that things will work out. Thus, as Nati is calling Nitzan on the phone, Amir tells him to remember to get his tie back from her. "But you said you didn't want it back", says Nati. "I was hoping they'd give me back a better one, like they gave you", Amir replies. The tie they gave Nati represents Nitzan, of course -- and by saying that he'd like a better one too, Amir is expressing his longing for a better relationship that the one he had in his marriage.

Jerusalemcop said...

Lurker,

Most of your points seem dead-on, but I was wondering where you got the idea that divorced men (even ashkenasim) should no longer wear a tallit after their divorce.

Jcop

Commenter Abbi said...

Wow Lurker, were you an English major? That analysis reminds me of all the papers I wrote in high school and college! (in a good way)

Very deep.

Anonymous said...

I thought this episode was thoroughly boring

Anonymous said...

are they getting rid of nati from the show ?(as in - he is leaving to go to the US) not that i care too much, he really is a jerk.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Lurker - are you sure I didn't write those comments for you in English Honors class? ;-)

The Sefaradi Amir adopts this custom, since he davens in an Ashkenazi minyan, but then effectively "lies" by continuing to wear the tallit after his divorce.

IIRC, divorced men according to Ashkenazi custom continue to wear a tallit...as divorced women also continue to cover their hair.

Anon: Re Nati.

First of all - if you saw the previews for next week, you'll see that Nati seems to be getting back together with Yifat (groan). Just think -- if Nati DOES go to America, he could live on the Upper West Side and torment women there as well...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OK - this is pathetic.

I googled "divorced, men, tallit" to get a source for my assumption above that divorced (Ashkenzi) men continue to wear a tallit...

The first link was broken.

The second link was to THIS POST AND COMMENT THREAD on the Muqata.

Sheesh.

Jerusalemcop said...

at least you know that google keeps itself current

Jcop

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

JCop: My wife and laughed out loud at the anglo settler.

(and at the Makor Rishon newspaper being read Friday night)

Jerusalemcop said...

Did u notice that the all were reading makor rishon except for hodaya. she was reading a book. (maybe it was the makor rishon readers digest edition).

too bad none of them have thought of the idea of either a kosher lamp or to put a light on a shabbat clock. We've all done the reading by the bathroom light, but there are times when you cant even use that light (depending on what you or your roommate ate at their respective katamon meals)

Abt the anglo settler, I thought it was a Russian at first until he started yelling in English "Hey David, where ya been? I've been lookin for you for 10 minutes"

Now that I just watched that scene again, he does remind me a bit of you Jameel. You sure Laizy didn't base the character on you?

Jcop

Lurker said...

Commenter Abbi: Wow Lurker, were you an English major? That analysis reminds me of all the papers I wrote in high school and college! (in a good way)
Very deep.


Thank you. Actually, I was a Computer Science major. But I've always enjoyed dissecting and analyzing literature and films. My wife and I do it all the time with the TV shows we watch together. Of course, we generally pick shows that lend themselves to that sort of thing, and Srugim definitely fits the bill.

Lurker said...

Jameel: Lurker - are you sure I didn't write those comments for you in English Honors class? ;-)

Hahr-de-hahr-hahr. :-)

Jameel: First of all - if you saw the previews for next week, you'll see that...

What?! No spoiler alert? Shame on you!

Lurker said...

Jcop: Most of your points seem dead-on, but I was wondering where you got the idea that divorced men (even ashkenasim) should no longer wear a tallit after their divorce.

Jameel: IIRC, divorced men according to Ashkenazi custom continue to wear a tallit...as divorced women also continue to cover their hair.

I am not familiar with the halakhot/minhagim of tallit-wearing for divorced men among Ashkenazim. To be perfectly honest, the source for my assumption that they stop wearing it is Srugim itself. In episode 9, Amir and his ex, Na'amah, had the following dialogue:

Amir: You've taken off your head covering.
Na'amah: Yes.
Amir: Why?
Na'amah: Because it gets in the way of dates.
Amir: I still daven with a tallit. I switched to a different shul, and they don't know that I got divorced, so... You know, it spares me from getting stared at.
Na'amah: But you're Sfaradi.
Amir: Yes, that's true, but...regardless; you know, I daven with Ashkenazim.


Later, in Amir's nightmare, the "laundry guy" yells at him: "This isn't your tallit! You're divorced!"

And finally, at the end of the episode, we see Amir davening in shul on Shabbat without a tallit, surrounded by other men who are all wearing tallitot.

Clearly, the story is founded on the assumption that there is an Ashkenazi minhag not to wear a tallit after getting divorced.

Before you say anything, I am well aware that Srugim isn't exactly a "source" for halakhic information. However, I would note that the show's writers seem to generally do their homework when it comes to things like this. A few weeks ago, I was rather skeptical about the mekubal telling Yifat that making a shul kiddush on the birth of a daughter is a segulah for her finding a husband. I figured that the show's writers must have made up that whole idea as a plot point. So I was quite suprised when I discovered that the idea really exists out there (although the basis for it is probably narishkeit).

Lurker said...

Jameel: I googled "divorced, men, tallit" to get a source for my assumption above that divorced (Ashkenzi) men continue to wear a tallit...
The second link was to THIS POST AND COMMENT THREAD on the Muqata.


See? The Muqata is an even bigger source for halakhic information than Srugim...

Jerusalemcop said...

Lurker: In response all I can say is that I'm divorced and was told that I still should keep wearing a tallit. I dont know the source either

Jcop

RivkA with a capital A said...

Yo, Jameel -- now you forget to include a "spoiler alert"? What is with you people?!?!

Lurker said...

My faith in the Srugim writers has been vindicated once again: I checked it out, and found that there definitely exists a practice (albeit a controversial one) of divorced men not wearing a tallit. For some interesting discussions relating to this, see here, here, and here.

I found this blog post particularly interesting. Note the sentiments of the divorced man quoted, which seem to be a perfect description of Amir's attitude and inner turmoil surrounding his tallit after his divorce:

This past winter I encountered an interesting question related to this: should a divorced man continue wearing a tallit? One Shabbat I ran into a friend who informed me that his divorce had just been finalized by saying: "Look, I’m not wearing a tallit." When I pointed out that I doubted that this was in fact the correct practice, another man standing nearby said, "I’m also divorced, and my rabbi told me that I needn’t wear a tallit." He added that, subsequent to his divorce, he felt broken and incomplete, and that he felt that wearing a tallit is a "privilege granted to the complete soul (one who is with his mate)." This comment whetted my curiosity, particularly as I remembered several other divorcés who had also ceased wearing the tallit after the divorce.

Anonymous said...

OK Can someone explain why if amir missed his bus and Yifat has a car and they are "just 20 minutes from Jerusalem" why he stayed over?

Also, what happened to Nati and the nurse he was kissing at the end of the last episode. Where did that get lost to?

Lurker said...

Jameel: First of all - if you saw the previews for next week, you'll see that Nati seems to be getting back together with Yifat (groan).

OK, since you mentioned it: I just watched the preview, and it shows no such thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Jameel: Just think -- if Nati DOES go to America, he could live on the Upper West Side and torment women there as well...

Cool. That could be the pilot episode for a new American Srugim spin-off based in the UWS. They can call it "Bangers"...

the apple said...

I love the analysis of Amir's symbolism.

What's Makor Rishon?

Commenter Abbi said...

Makor Rishon is a right leaning dati leumi newspaper (Hebrew).

Rivka- the previews are attached to end of the each episode. Or do you turn off the tv before they come on? They really don't spoil anything.

Lurker- my husband and I also got the impression that Nati was about to make a move on Yifat (we both groaned when we saw the scene).

Lurker said...

cAbbi: Makor Rishon is a right leaning dati leumi newspaper (Hebrew).

Well, it is right-leaning, leumi, and Hebrew. But it caters to a hiloni as well as a dati readership.

cAbbi: Rivka- the previews are attached to end of the each episode. Or do you turn off the tv before they come on? They really don't spoil anything.

Some of us aren't watching the actual TV broadcasts. But episode previews can be found on the show's offical website.

cAbbi: Lurker- my husband and I also got the impression that Nati was about to make a move on Yifat (we both groaned when we saw the scene).

If we are talking about the same thing (maybe we're not -- I'm referring to the scene starting at 1:14 in this clip), then it's quite clear that the scene is only a dream sequence.

Anonymous said...

I am new to this group. My wife and I have been watching the show (from the US where we live )and we really do enjoy it, however as "modern orthodox" srugim ourselves, we feel that the show "jumped the shark" around episode 10 when certain things just seemed too hard to believe.
Examples (and I'm sure they have been discussed here before):

1. Yochai kissing Reut
2. Hodaya's mikva intentions
3. The married guy on the yishiv hanging out with Yifat and eventually hitting on her
4. All physical barriers breaking down in terms of Nati and the nurse, Amir and Yifat etc.

Don't get me wrong, not that these things don't happen in the real world of srugim.....but the show is turning into a bunch of datiyim compromising their belief system.

I am still a big fan of the show, but I find it hard to find it all very realistic, which is what makes the show so likable in the first place - the fact that we relate to it.

Thoughts?

Lurker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 7:04 PM: ...we feel that the show "jumped the shark" around episode 10 when certain things just seemed too hard to believe.
...
Don't get me wrong, not that these things don't happen in the real world of srugim...


If these things "happen in the real world of srugim", then why is it "too hard to believe"?

Anonymous: 1. Yochai kissing Reut

I presume you mean because he's a yeshiva guy who doesn't do that sort of thing. On the other hand, he immediately began castigating himself for it. Don't forget that Yochai is 30 and unmarried. That is very unusual for a Merkaz guy, and already indicates that he doesn't quite fit into the world in which he lives. He seems to be a character who is dissatisfied with his life and lifestyle. Winess the changes in that lifestyle that he is now making (to Reut's chagrin). In any case, given the complexities of Yochai's character, I'm not so certain that the implulsive kiss was unrealistic.

Anonymous: 2. Hodaya's mikva intentions

The phenomenon of unmarried women who are sexually active and go to the mikveh is neither new nor unheard of in the MO world. So why did you find Hodaya's intentions unrealistic?

Anonymous: 3. The married guy on the yishiv hanging out with Yifat and eventually hitting on her

You think that's unrealistic? I know of a dati yishuv where the rabbi behaved this way (and worse). It was a while until they got rid of him.

Anonymous: 4. All physical barriers breaking down in terms of Nati and the nurse, Amir and Yifat etc.

While it does violate the prohibition of negiah, I hardly think that Amir and Yifat holding hands constitutes "all physical barriers breaking down". And Nati and the nurse only kissed -- also a far cry from a breakdown of "all physical barriers". Btw, we already had a strong hint that Nati was a "kisser", from the story about the remark he made at the engagement party.

Anonymous: ...I find it hard to find it all very realistic...

Again, why is it hard to find it "realistic" if, as you already said, "these things... happen in the real world of srugim"?

Anonymous said...

Lurker, thank you for your response to my posting.

I should clarify and say that the reason I find some of these things unrealistic even though I admit that these things can and do happen in the real world of srugim is because it is on the fringe and not the mainstream norm. I think you would agree that a married rabbi (or not rabbi) of a dati yishuv hitting on another woman and the phenomenon of unmarried women who are sexually active and go to the mikveh is on the fringe, are exceptions and are not "typical" in the srugim world.
For me, what started as a show about srugim that I can relate to because it speaks to the every day "typical" issues that srugim are confronted with has turned into showing atypical situations that, while believable, are on the fringe.
You may not agree with me, but can you see my point?

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 9:37 PM: I should clarify and say that the reason I find some of these things unrealistic even though I admit that these things can and do happen in the real world of srugim is because it is on the fringe and not the mainstream norm.
...
You may not agree with me, but can you see my point?


In truth, some of these phenomena are not as "on the fringe" of the dati leumi world as some of us tend to believe. Touching such as holding hands, or even kissing, is not at all uncommon in many circles. And while the phenomenon of unmarried women going to the mikveh is certainly less common than that, it definitely is going on out there. There have been rabbis quietly giving "not for publication" sanction for this, implicitly or explicitly, for some time now.

Of course, the level of "commonness" of different phenomena varies widely beween different sub-strata and social circles within the dati leumi spectrum. But (as Jameel has pointed out) Srugim is not attempting to be some kind of representative cross-section of the religious community. Nor (as I have pointed out) is it trying to put forward "role models".

Regarding the married yishuv security guy who hit on Yifat: This bothered my wife for much the same reason that it bothered you -- namely, that such a person is not representative of the average dati yishuv resident. And that's true; he's not. But I think both of you are overlooking something: The fact that he's an atypical resident is does necessarily not make the story unrealistic at all: Such sleazy people do exist, albeit in small numbers; but by their very nature, they tend to actively seek out their targets. In other words, when a single, attractive young woman moved into the yishuv, it should not surprise us that the neighborhood lech started hanging out around her. There may not be so many rats in one's house, but they'll still become very noticable if there's a bit of cheese lying about.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anon: about dati people in yishuvim...

Actually -- the dati married guy starting up with Yifat is not nearly as crazy as you might expect.

In a religious settlement not far from my own, stranger (and even more disturbing) things have happened...including a married male gym teacher running off with a 12 grader.

Its not the norm, but things happen in every community (Chareidi, Dati, Secular, etc).

Srugim is a mix (in my opinion) of fringe stories and mainstream ones. If it were all mainstream, it could be slightly...boring?

Part of good screenwriting is to get you to like...and dislike characters...even make you disappointed in them.

shira (aka stacy) said...

i would just like to say that just because betzalel called stacy a 'reform lesbian' does not mean she is actually either. its interesting how everyone is so quick to call him (betzalel) a jerk, yet they assume that the assumptions he made about her (stacy, the neighbor) were accurate. (interesting lesson here on lashon harah perhaps...but thats another blog).
maybe the tfillin belonged to her boyfriend, or her zaidy?
regardless, if they write the character back in (which i of course hope they do), i wouldn't care if she was indeed a lesbian, i'd be happy to explore the character anyway they wanted me to :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi Shira -

It never occurred to me for a second that the tefillin might not be hers (but rather her boyfriend's or zaidey's).

Thanks for the additional insight!

Shana tova!

Jameel

The Muqata: The foremost English language blog about "srugim"
;-)

RaggedyMom said...

Great discussion. As for the extensive deep discussion of all the symbolism lurker discussed, I'm torn about it - sometimes it seems poignant and then sometimes it seems a little heavy-handed.

Re: the American who yelled out to his friends - my husband had a class with him at YU.

Shmilda said...

I'm a couple of weeks behind...

I saw Reut's disappointment in Yochai's going into business as her now seeing him as a poor uneducated businessman hustling for clients. It's hard to imagine her appreciating any guy without at least a BA and a salary nearing hers. When he was in yeshiva she could see him as mastering his alternate world, but now that he is in the business world he no longer impresses her.

This is of course contrasted with Nati's developing relationship with the wealthy girl.

Kamagra said...

Srugim is a great tv series , i like it too much because this series has interesting topics that i like a lot, if you want to see this series, send me a email.

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