It’s not every day that Israeli television makes it into the American news. But recently, Marta Kauffman, producer of the outrageously popular “Friends,” has announced that she will be producing a US remake of the Israel TV drama “Shtisel.” Certainly “Shtisel,” and its focus on the Ultra-Orthodox Shtisel family in Jerusalem, doesn’t seem like a theme that will grab America’s attention.
Hollywood seems to disagree. In 2003, Daniel Taub created and wrote “The Rebbe’s Court” which was a series focused on the lives of members of a Hassidic dynasty in Tel Aviv. Until Daniel Taub’s portrayal, most depictions of the ultra-orthodox were stereotypical and two-dimensional. Daniel Taub discussed the challenges that he faced when writing the show as he said,
“The producers wanted me to put some secular characters center stage for the largely secular audience to identify with. I insisted that the goal was to bring the viewers to connect emotionally with people from a very different world, and thankfully we were able to do this.”
Taub’s series was eventually bought and broadcast by Channel 10 and was a hit with both the secular public and the ultra-orthodox. As Daniel Taub explained, “In one episode of the series, a secular song is sung by one of the actors at a Shabbat meal. I was surprised to learn from one Hassid that this was now a regular Shabbat song in his community.”
Since this groundbreaking work, “Almost Touching,” “Kathmandu” and “Shtisel” have all become hits. Such hits, it seems, that America is now gearing up for their own “Shtisel” with a top Hollywood producer. Wonders never cease.
Israeli diplomats abroad have an unusual new tool in their diplomatic toolbox – insights and lessons from the Hebrew Bible.
Parasha Diplomatit was initiated by veteran diplomat Daniel Taub after he received requests from colleagues around the world for ideas from the weekly Torah reading that they could share in speaking to Jewish audiences, as well as those of other faiths. The result was a compendium of insights regarding politics and diplomacy draw from the five Books of Moses. Alongside the book there is now a companion website, updated regularly with ideas and insights from Parasha Diplomatit.
Born in England in 1962, and educated at Oxford and Harvard, Daniel Taub moved to Israel in 1989. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat medic and an international law officer, he joined Israel’s Foreign Ministry. In more than two decades at the Ministry, Taub held a wide variety of posts, including as a member of Israel’s negotiating teams with its neigbours and defending Israel before international forums.
Alongside his diplomatic career, Daniel Taub continued to write and teach on subjects of Jewish interest, and he was the creator and writer of a popular Israeli drama series, HeChatzer, which was set in the heart of a Hassidic community.
Between 2011 and 2015 Daniel Taub served in the UK as Israel’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James. In parallel to his other diplomatic functions, Taub drew on Biblical study as a tool of Israeli diplomacy. He was invited to teach classes in Hebrew Bible Study at the Church of England Synod and at Westminster Abbey, as well as the popular Holy Trinity Brompton Community (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHND3gIdJUI). He also engaged in outreach to the British Moslem Community and held a joint Iftar/fast-breaking on 17thTammuz/Ramadan.
Spiced with humour and wit from the worlds of politics and diplomacy, in Parasha Diplomatit Taub sheds a fresh new light on ancient and beloved texts.