|Directed by||Alon Zingman|
|Country of origin||Israel|
|Original languages||Modern Hebrew|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||33|
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Original network||yes Oh|
|Original release||29 June 2013 –|
Shtisel (Hebrew: שטיסל) is an Israeli television drama series about a fictional Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) family living in Geula, Jerusalem. Created and written by Ori Elon and Yehonatan Indursky, the series premiered on 29 June 2013 on yes Oh. It commenced distribution via the online streaming service Netflix in 2018. The first two seasons had 12 episodes per season and the third season has 9 episodes.
In May 2019, the show was renewed for a third season, though filming was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A trailer was released in September, revealing that Season 3 is set seven years after the death of Akiva's mother (six years after the events of the first episode). Season 3 premiered on 20 December 2020 and became available on Netflix starting 25 March 2021.
The series follows the lives of Shulem Shtisel (Dov Glickman), the Shtisel patriarch and a rabbi at the local cheder, as well as those of the other members of his family. Shtisel is set in a Haredi, Internet-free neighborhood. The community follows strict haredi customs and violating the norms often causes chaos within the family. However, the characters who are more open to a secular lifestyle reflect Geula's moderation in comparison to their neighbors in Mea She'arim, the adjacent community known for religious extremism.
- Dov Glickman as Shulem Shtisel
- Michael Aloni as Akiva Shtisel
- Neta Riskin as Giti Weiss
- Shira Haas as Ruchami Weiss
- Sarel Piterman as Zvi Arye Shtisel
- Zohar Strauss as Lippe Weiss
- Orly Silbersatz Banai as Aliza Gvili
- Ayelet Zurer as Elisheva Rotstein
- Sasson Gabai as Nukhem Shtisel
- Gal Fishel as Yosa'le Weiss
- Ori Ilovitz as Haim'ke Weiss
- Hadas Yaron as Libbi Shtisel
- Eliana Shechter as Tovi Shtisel
- Hanna Rieber as Malka Shtisel (grandmother, season 1)
- Lea Koenig as Malka Shtisel (grandmother, season 2, recast due to death of Rieber)
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (February 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Akiva Shtisel is a 26-year-old, single Haredi man who lives with his father, Shulem Shtisel, a widower. Akiva starts working as a teacher in a cheder, and falls in love with Elisheva Rotstein, the mother of a student in his class, who has been widowed twice. He asks the matchmaker Königsberg to set up a meeting for them, much to the chagrin of his father, who wants Akiva to wed a never-married young woman. Elisheva and Akiva meet once at the insistence of Akiva, and she refuses to continue. Shulem urges Akiva to meet with 19-year-old Esti Gottlieb. On their second meeting, Akiva, still in love with Elisheva says he is not yet ready for marriage, and Esti starts to cry. Faced with guilt, Akiva proposes marriage to Esti, and they get engaged.
Giti Weiss, the daughter and the sister of the Shtisels, says goodbye to her husband Lippe Weiss, who flies to Argentina for six months as part of his job as a kosher butcher. Lippe's boss tells Giti that he ran away with a gentile. Giti is disgraced and looks for work to provide for her 5 children. She works as a babysitter for a secular woman and then exchanges money at home. Though she still loves him, she confesses the hardship her husband has put them through to her eldest daughter Ruchami, who grows resentful of Lippe. Later feeling guilty, he decides to return home and struggles to find forgiveness from Ruchami.
Zvi Arye, the brother of Giti and Akiva, is competing for a teaching job at the kolel, where he studies hard but doesn't get the job. Zvi Arye's wife calls him away from the kolel to trap a mouse.
Grandmother Malka, Shulem's mother, lives in a nursing home and is exposed to television for the first time in her life, which Zvi Arye and Shulem find abhorrent and come up with many ways to sabotage her from viewing.
Akiva finds a job as a painter. He paints for Leib Fuchs, a well-known Haredi artist. Their agreement consists of Akiva painting for him, and Fuchs selling the paintings as if they were his own.
Shulem has a relationship (he eats her cooking at the cheder and in her home) with Aliza, a divorced Haredi who is the secretary at his cheder. However, his refusal to clarify his intentions with her motivates her to look elsewhere.
Akiva, still harboring doubt about his engagement, consults with his maternal uncle, Sucher, who cancelled a match and has remained single all his life. His uncle tells Akiva to ask Elisheva if she loves him. In an emotional conversation, she tells him that she is too old for him and refuses him once more. Despite this he informs Esti's father that he does not love Esti, and Esti's father angrily cancels the engagement. The enraged Shulem expels Kiva from his home. Kiva sleeps in different places, until Shulem and Akiva reconcile.
Akiva continues to contact Elisheva, and ultimately she does admit to loving him. Shulem helps them to become engaged, but Akiva ultimately chooses to call off the marriage himself after Elisheva tries to convince him to immediately move with her to England, and he realises they have very different priorities in life.
Suddenly the family is confronted with a crisis as Malka Shtisel suffers an accident by falling down a staircase when trying to watch her favourite TV show downstairs, after having given up on her own TV at the suggestion of her son, Shulem. She incurs a serious life-threatening head injury, becoming unconscious and being admitted to the ICU. Concerned she might die, the family comes together to support her.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (March 2021)
Shulem's younger brother Nukhem and Nukhem's daughter Libbi arrive in Jerusalem to visit the ailing matriarch Malka and seek a match for Libbi. Akiva and Libbi become friendly and begin to consider the possibility of marrying, but some family members, especially Nukhem, object because they are cousins. Akiva is now exhibiting his paintings at a gallery, and Libbi worries that he will get so swept up in his art that he will forget to daven. Nukhem and Libbi set the condition that Akiva must give up painting if he wishes to become engaged to Libbi; Akiva agrees, but later breaks the promise, prompting Libbi to break off the engagement.
Giti and Lippe, who are expecting a sixth baby, consider the possibility of naming him Zelig in return for a payment from a childless widow who wishes to have a child named after her deceased husband. Giti impulsively offers to name the child Zelig without payment; unbeknownst to her, Lippe does accept a sum of money from the widow. When Giti is bothered by the widow's intrusive behavior at the hospital when she is giving birth, she decides that she wants to name the baby something else, but at the bris, Lippe names him Zelig. Their marriage becomes troubled again; slowly, they work through their problems, and Giti opens a restaurant with a sum of money that Lippe made on the stock market.
Ruchami, aged fifteen, befriends a devout yeshiva student, Hanina, and brings him food so that he can study late into the night. After Ruchami overhears her parents talking about how gossip about the Weiss family may affect her marital prospects, she elopes with Hanina and they marry informally in front of witnesses at a café. Ruchami's parents are shocked and they, especially Giti, attempt to separate the young couple. Eventually Giti persuades Lippe to tell Hanina that Ruchami wants a divorce, and a date for the delivery of a get is arranged. But after Giti meets Hanina by chance at her restaurant and gets to know him slightly, she relents.
At the end of the season, Giti and Lippe reconcile with each other, with Ruchami, and with Hanina. Ruchami and Hanina plan a conventional, festive wedding with her parents’ blessing; despite Ruchami's best efforts, Hanina's estranged father does not appear. Libbi realizes that she wants to marry Akiva, without conditions.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (March 2021)
Akiva is now a widower with a baby daughter, Dvora’le. We learn that Libbi and her mother have both died in the interval between Seasons 2 and 3. Akiva sees visions of Libbi and carries on intense conversations with her as he tries to find his way through grief. Nukhem, also grieving and severely depressed, is living with his brother, Shulem.
Sucher comes to visit, with a surprise announcement: he has reconnected with Nechama, his ex-fiancée from decades ago, and they are once again engaged. Before they can marry, Sucher dies suddenly. Shulem tentatively courts Nechama, but she becomes engaged to Nukhem instead, giving him a new lease on life. Having won the lottery, Nechama donates all of her winnings to Shulem's cheder.
Akiva is agonized to learn that three of his paintings of Libbi have been sold to a collector while he hesitated over granting his permission; he considers them too personal to sell. He meets the collector, Racheli, and attempts to recover them, but she will agree only if he paints her another three paintings equally good, but his attempt to do so fails to satisfy her. After a mix-up when a friend of Akiva's picks up the wrong child from day care, social services investigate Akiva and temporarily removed Dvora’le from his care. Advised to get married as quickly as possible to prove that he can make a good home for Dvora’le, Akiva abruptly marries Racheli and the two of them successfully put on a charade for social services. The attraction between Akiva and Racheli is real, but the relationship becomes even more complicated when Racheli reveals that she has bipolar disorder. Moreover, Akiva still pines for Libbi.
Ruchami is now happily married to Hanina and working as her grandfather's secretary, but she longs for a child. Her first pregnancy ended disastrously, in a medically necessary abortion, and she has been advised that she cannot safely carry a pregnancy to term. She and Hanina explore the possibility of having a child through a surrogate, with Ruchami faking a pregnancy so that the surrogacy can remain completely confidential. Hanina reluctantly agrees, after taking counsel from a rabbi and finding inspiration in a pertinent text, but Ruchami secretly has her IUD removed and conceives a child, not telling Hanina until the pregnancy is well advanced.
Meanwhile, Giti and Lippe's second child, Yosa’le, is beginning to date. He falls in love with the first girl he meets, not realizing that he had mixed one Shira up with another in the hotel lobby—and the girl he fell for is not the one his parents had in mind, but a Sephardi Algerian university student of whom they would not approve. Under parental pressure, Yosa’le meets and becomes engaged to the Shira Levinson who was picked out for him, but it becomes clear that they do not have much in common. Eventually he reconnects with the first girl he met, Shira Levi, and breaks his engagement with the other Shira.
At the end of the season, Yosa’le becomes engaged to Shira Levi. Ruchami goes into labor and is rushed to the hospital for a touch-and-go labor. She gives birth to a daughter.
In April 2019, Maurice Yacowar (retired film studies professor and author of The Sopranos on the Couch, Continuum) published an episode by episode analysis of the [first] two Shtisel seasons, titled "Reading Shtisel: A TV Masterpiece from Israel".
In May 2019, Shtisel was renewed for a third season. In May 2019, a dispute with the Israeli Actors’ Association delayed the signing of contracts for the third series. In August 2019, producer Dikla Barkai said, “We cannot confirm Season 3 yet. There are many reasons. Let’s hope. We are thinking positively. I would say it will.”
In April 2020, series producer Barkai confirmed that a third season of Shtisel had been due to begin filming in May 2020, but would have to be postponed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed in June and a trailer was later released in September.
The first season of the series was nominated in 12 categories at the Israeli Television Academy Award 2013, including two nominations for best actor and actress in a drama series - Dov Glickman and Michael Aloni, as well as for Ayelet Zorer and Neta Riskin. At the ceremony, held on 24 January 2014, the series won 11 awards: for Best Drama Series, Best Actor in a Drama Series (Dov Glickman), Drama Director (Alon Singman), Drama Screenplay (Uri Alon and Jonathan Indursky), Design Costumes, makeup, photography, original music (Avi Ballali), soundtrack, artistic management and editing.
At the Israeli Television Academy Award ceremony in 2015, the second season won directing awards for the drama series (Alon Singman), acting awards in the actor and actress category (Dov Glickman in his second win with the series and Neta Riskin), original music, art design and costumes.
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