I watched Unorthodox as soon as it was released on Netflix three months ago, but I could not immediately put my finger on what exactly resonated so deeply with me… Given, the lead actress, Shira Haas, was astonishingly good, but the ‘escape a cult’ story line was hardly unique, and it did not seem that ‘special’ on the surface…
It took me some time and self-reflection to realize that we all live in our own personal eruvs of imaginary rules, dogmas, preconceptions, and general ways of thinking about the world. Most of us don’t even notice being enclosed by these personal eruvs as long as what happens in the outside world could be reasonably reconciled with our imaginary worlds inside the confines of personal eruvs. We mistakenly think that the world operates according to the rules of our eruvs, we refuse to step outside eruvs of our own preconceptions and take an open-minded view of the world. Unorthodox is not about escaping a cult, but about escaping your own personal eruv of preconceptions about the world. And the more rigid your own imaginary rules and preconceptions, the harder and the more painful it would be to escape that eruv. In the end, Unorthodox is about personal transformation and how painful it could be.
I would conclude with the quote from Unorthodox:
“The rules are imaginary. The eruv wires around the neighborhood aren’t electric, there’s no moat (…) filled with crocodiles. Their power is just in your head.”
… followed by the response from Esty:
“The Talmud says… If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”