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← What Unorthodox Teaches Us About Trauma | Netflix

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Showing Revision 1 created 05/10/2020 by Buzbee.

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    The dictionary definition of trauma is:
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    Severe emotional shock and pain,
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    caused by an extremely
    upsetting experience.
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    There is no set way to process trauma.
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    But, in "Unorthodox," we see how
    two different communities,
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    one in Berlin, and another in
    Brooklyn,
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    cope with the tragedies
    that have shaped them.
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    And, in turn, we learn ways
    to deal with our trauma.
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    In Brooklyn, trauma forms
    19 year old Esty's,
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    and her community's,
    identity.
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    The action follows
    the secretive Satmar community
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    of Hasidic Jews.
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    Established by a rabbi
    who had fled Satu Mare,
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    in present-day Romania,
    during the Holocaust.
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    The Satmar community
    does not mix with others.
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    In "Unorthodox,"
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    at the head of the
    sex-segregated table,
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    for Pesach dinner,
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    an annual commemoration
    of the Jews who escaped slavery
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    in ancient Egypt,
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    Esty's grandfather
    gives his reasons why.
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    [Grandfather] We tell ourselves
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    the story of Passover
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    to remind us of
    our suffering.
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    [Narrator] The show celebrates
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    the strong bonds
    of family and tradition,
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    within Esty's community,
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    where religious customs
    and prayers
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    can take place safely,
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    while deadly attacks
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    on synagogues, and
    other venues frequented by Jews,
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    rise, across the world.
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    This community defies
    anti-Semitism, by living devoutly.
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    We also see, in this scene,
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    how Satmar Jews
    draw on past trauma,
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    to make members scared
    of the big, bad outside.
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    [Grandfather] When we trusted
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    our friends and neighbors,
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    God punished us.
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    When we forget who we are,
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    we invite God's wrath.
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    [Narrator] The Holocaust
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    caused PTSD in its survivors.
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    Its impact lives on.
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    As Auschwitz survivor,
    chemist, and writer,
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    Primo Levi puts it:
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    "Auschwitz is outside of us,
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    but it is all around us,
    in the air.
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    The plague has died away,
    but the infection still lingers,
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    and it would be foolish
    to deny it."
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    This generational trauma
    grows from the roots
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    of Esty's family tree,
    and shapes Esty's personal identity.
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    She is discouraged from
    exploring passions
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    that contradict
    the community's values.
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    Her piano lessons
    are so frowned upon,
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    she must take them
    in secret.
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    Her teacher,
    Vivian Dropkin,
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    is derided as 'a shiksa,'
    or non-Jew.
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    But interestingly,
    though the show never mentions it,
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    Dropkin is a secular Jew.
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    Despite her faith, her choices
    are not Jewish enough
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    for Esty's devout community.
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    Many Orthodox Jews
    believe that the way
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    to undo the trauma
    of the Holocaust,
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    is to repopulate.
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    2013 research for
    the Pew Center
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    shows that Orthodox Jews
    have a birth rate of 4.1,
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    as opposed to the U. S.
    national average of 1.8.
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    Esty totally believes
    what she's been taught to believe,
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    later insisting,
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    "We are rebuilding
    the six million lost."
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    Jews killed in the Holocaust.
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    [Grandmother] So many lost.
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    But, soon, you'll have
    children of your own.
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    [Narrator] Six million
    is no small sum.
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    So, alongside the housework
    needed to keep her home tidy,
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    and her husband, Yankee Shapiro,
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    well fed and in perfectly
    ironed suits,
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    Esty's job is to have
    as many children as possible.
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    [Woman] You will have no leverage
    in this marriage,
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    until there is a baby.
    Understand me?
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    [Narrator] She is told that sex
    will give her husband pleasure,
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    which, in turn, will give her
    exactly what she wants:
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    what she has been told she wants...
    a baby.
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    The problem with this way
    of dealing with trauma,
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    as we see it through Esty's eyes,
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    is, it creates
    a domino effect.
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    There is a field of academic study
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    called epigenetics,
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    which deals with the concept
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    of trans-generational trauma.