This 4 part miniseries is about how 19 year old Esther Shapiro (played fantastically by Shira Haas) known as Esty, escapes from her strict Hasidic community in Brooklyn, NY to Berlin, Germany. Esty has just recently married her husband, Yanky who is more than a little of a mama’s boy.
As Esty makes her way to Berlin and settles into her new life of freedom, Yanky and his diamond in the rough cousin, Moishe are sent by a community leader to go find Esty and bring her back. We get flashbacks into what life was like living in an overbearing community where she is expected to provide a child 9 months after marriage and adhere to certain rules. The women are not allowed to wear their hair out and one of the scenes is a harrowing one as we watch Esty sob as her hair is being shaved off.
The series is based on a 2012 memoir by Deborah Feldman and like with most adaptations there are some creative liberties taken. I don’t think the show is without its flaws as I didn’t particularly like the end and thought a few storylines could have been fleshed out more but overall I think it did a good job of conveying Esty’s unhappiness and need for freedom. At 4 episodes, it’s a quic, rewarding watch.
P.S – This series reminded me of a documentary on Hasidic Jews I watched a few years ago, also available on Netflix titled One of Us. It did a good job of really showing how the Hasidic community works on the inside and how toxic it can get. I recommend that.