Netflix’s Mini-Series ‘Unorthodox’ Starring Shira Haas Gets Emmy

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Emmy-nominated Shira Haas stars in Netflix’s “Unorthodox” (photo credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX)

By: Benyamin Davidsons

On Sunday Night, at the Emmy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the Netflix series “Unorthodox” was awarded an Emmy.  German director, Maria Schrader, won for Outstanding Directing of a Limited Series or Movie.

The television miniseries, which debuted on Netflix on 26 March 2020, was nominated for eight awards, including Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series for the star Israeli actress Shira Haas. Unorthodox is the first Netflix series to be primarily in Yiddish.  The show was inspired by Deborah Feldman ‘s 2012 autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.  It is the tale of a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman (Haas playing the part of Esther Shapiro) who flees her arranged marriage and religious community in Brooklyn to start a new life in Berlin.  Israeli actor Amit Rahav costars in the series, playing the part of Yanky Shapiro.

As per the Jerusalem Post, Schrader’s win was a rare moment where the highly popular HBO series Watchmen did not win an award for which it was nominated at this year’s Emmys.  Schrader, was an actress who moved into directing.  She came to Israel in 2007 to film an adaptation of Zeruya Shalev’s novel, Love Life, starring Neta Garty  from Fauda.

There were numerous other Emmys awarded to Jewish personalities this year.  Schitt’$ Creek, won a good share of Emmys in the comedy categories, including for Outstanding Comedy Series. The father-and-son duo, Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor.  Dan Levy also won for Outstanding Writing as well as Directing for a Comedy Series. The comedy tells the tale of a formerly wealthy family who suddenly loses their fortune and moves to a less than ideal Canadian town.

The teen drama, entitled Euphoria, which was adapted from the Israeli series of the same name by Ron Leshem, saw star actress Zendaya win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role.  Julia Garner, whose mother is Israeli, won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for the second year in a row for her role in Ozark.

Due to COVID-19 precautions the usually star-studded award ceremony was empty, with only host Jimmy Kimmel there, aside from a few socially distancing special guests.

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