“Where can I show my friend/neighbor/relative a positive portrayal of Orthodox Jews?” several people have asked us over the last few weeks, since “Unorthodox” became one of the most popular shows on Netflix.
“Jew in the City.” I tell them. “That is what our organization was created for.” No, we have not made a documentary (yet). We do not have a feature length film or a miniseries. (Though, if you want to see some positive Hasidic depictions in feature length films, check out “Ushpizin” and “Fill the Void.”) We do not have the budget to compete with content that is on Netflix or books that are published by the largest publishing houses and then make their way to every news outlet. (But for a well-written memoir that got less press, check out “The Skeptic and the Rabbi.”) We have a hard time convincing traditional platforms even to carry positive stories about Orthodox Jews. But we have social media. And we have YOU as an ambassador to share this information, so please share away!
But let’s make one thing clear: our community is not perfect. The longer I have been involved in showing how wonderful our community is, the more people have contacted me sharing how their experiences differed. In fact, we established Project Makom specifically to cater to the people who had experienced negativity in the religious Jewish world and were looking to connect to positive aspects of it. When we own up to our shortcomings and work to improve problems, we can feel good about who we are: imperfect people doing our best to be better. So when you disseminate the positive content below, do not whitewash the facts. There are abusive and dysfunctional parts of our community. Not every mitzvah or part of the Torah is easy to understand. We don’t need to pretend that that is not the case. But there’s so much to be proud of and grateful for. And here are many examples:
This is just a fraction of the original content we have been producing since 2007: there is so much beauty and goodness available in this way of life for anyone who is interested. It is the mission of our organization to make this known and accessible to all Jews.