I recommend Srugim, a ten-year-old Israeli T.V. series about religiously conservative singles in their thirties trying to get married. This series is Jewish but does a better job of seeming real and practical than any Christian or reality show I’ve seen.
Free on Amazon Prime. Purchasable for one dollar an episode also there. Elsewhere too.
It deals relatively well with the modern tensions around sexuality (gender roles): career women, effeminate men, clothing and modesty, divorce, purity. Difficulties and stress in having children late in life. Who prays when a man visits dinner where the girl friends are used to praying for each other? Why can’t any good men handle a woman who has a higher-paying job?
It’s an interesting drama, particularly for singles. And more realistic in displaying rarely seen on T.V. relationships, like religious conversations.
It’s comedy at times, and other times raw, real awkwardness. It shows a lot of what we experience.
There are individual feminists and individual mockers but no wholesale dismissal of tradition normally seen. Feminism is nowhere near what other shows depict. The show does, at times, teach you to accept and understand the immoral choices some characters make. But it does not buffoon the majority of characters trying to live rightly. And it’s not a overly simplistic, optional way of life that works for them. Religion is integral to them. There is prayer and practice, wisdom and counseling; but sadly no Emmanuel, no praise of God.
Perhaps religious Jews find it horribly unrepresentative and heretical, like I find Christian shows to be. Maybe it’s easier for me to accept and appreciate the religious aspect of Srugim, because I’m not nitpicking the Jewish theology. Their Sabbatarianism is legalistic yet displayed in a way that makes me think hard about my own Sunday schedule.
Anyone watched Srugim?
I haven’t found anything better in the age of cell phones. I liked Blue Bloods for a while, but it really shows a shallow, compartmentalized and optional Christianity, and Roman Catholic at that. Modern culture, feminism, fornication, is not shameful. Blue Bloods certainly takes a very counter-cultural view on police given the currents events. And it was addressing such issues years ago. Seems realistic, but I don’t know really.
I’ve watched Srugim through a few times and shared it with others. How rare on screen to see a man acting effeminate get belittled by his frustrated wife on the phone and not be accompanied by studio audience laughter. Instead, it’s clear on screen she disrespected her husband. And he actually mans up and repents, yet he doesn’t parade his newfound manliness. He simply becomes a better husband, having realized a sacrifice this man should humbly make.