The Existential Angst of Being An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Artist

INTRODUCTION

The existential angst of being an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish artist is one of the main themes throughout this Israeli TV drama series, Shtisel streaming on US Netflix.

The Vimeo trailer is shown below.

PROTAGONIST

Actor Michael Aloni plays the conflicted ultra-orthodox artist, Akiva Shtisel (Kive). His portrayal is captivating although the real-life person his character is based on, Zalmen Glauber is much less dramatic.
See SOURCES & RESOURCES for details about Zalmen Glauber.

existential angst
Actor Michael Aloni plays Akive, the Ultra-Orthodox artist, the protagonist in the Israeli TV series, Shtisel
CONFLICT

Akiva Shtisel attempts to follow the letter of the law of ultra-orthodox Judaism. But the conflict stems from his love of painting and his love of his faith. Although he knows in his soul that this talent is a gift from God and no conflict for him personally, it is disparaging for his father and those he loves. As a result, the series follows his trials and tribulations to unite his desire to marry as an observant Jew and his passion to express his artistic soul.

Cousins, Kive and Libbi in a more serious moment from Shtisel
COUSINS

In his desire to wed, with two previously failed engagements, Akiva has become known as the family screw-up. In spite of this, his latest potential wife, his first cousin Libbi loves him and wants to marry him. Accordingly, her father agrees to the marriage under two conditions. Akiva must abandon his art. In addition, he insists that Akiva take on a real job, managing a shady travel agency the uncle has opened. Thus, the series goes on to include efforts to follow the uncle’s demands as well as the shortcomings of it.

RESOLUTION
There seem to be additional episodes if not years to this story of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and Akiva’s existential angst as an artist. Netflix has not made all of them available yet. It is an inevitable quality of TV series drama that necessitates more emotional roller coasters. But this season ends on a note of hope. Therefore I anticipate a positive conclusion hopefully without too many bumpy rides along the way.

Shown below is one of the lighter sides of Shtistel’s Kive and Libbi on YouTube, a ‘surprise date’ to the ice skating rink.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Details from IMDb
Michael Aloni (Akiva Shtisel) on Instagram
11 Things You Need to Know ABout Michael Aloni
‘Shtisel’ Star Michael Aloni On How He Prepared To Play A Charedi On TV
Google Search for Akiva Shtisel, actor Michael Aloni
The Real Life Akiva Shtisel
How Shtisel star, Michael Aloni Prepared to Play Shtisel
Netflix’s ‘Shtisel’ Is Binge-Worthy TV on a Strict Form of Judaism
A Date to the Skating rink from https://www.ekollel.com/shidduch/

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