The Netflix reality show, My Unorthodox Life, has been the talk of much of the Orthodox world since it was released less than two weeks ago. It tells the story of Julia Haart, who first developed a shoe line, and quickly rose in the world of fashion. She now is the the CEO and co-owner of Elite World Group, the world’s largest modeling network.
As most of you probably know, the reason that her story is different from others is that Julia was an Orthodox Jew named Talia Hendler living in Monsey. She had once been a passionate teacher of Torah in an Orthodox high school in Atlanta. About eight years ago, she left her husband and Orthodoxy itself, just days after her daughter’s wedding. Her astounding rise took place entirely in the past eight years.
Orthodox Jews have had varied reactions to the series, from complete rejection of Julia’s honesty and experience, to countering her story of oppression with stories of loving being Orthodox under the hashtag #Myorthodoxlife, to accepting and celebrating Julia’s journey.
In this bonus Intimate Judaism episode (co-produced with the Orthodox Conundrum), Rabbi Scott Kahn and Talli Rosenbaum are joined by Anne Gordon and Shoshanna Keast-Jaskoll for a panel discussion about My Unorthodox Life. Hear their reactions to the series – including what they feel about Julia’s relationships with her family, whether men have a right to discuss Julia’s story, the implications of her story for Orthodoxy, and more.
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