By: Sruli Friedman  | 

Center for Israel Studies Hosts Presentation of Israeli Documentary-Reality Show Od Nipagesh; Cast Members Attend

The Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies presented selections from Od Nipagesh, an Israeli documentary-reality series, followed by a discussion panel with two people featured on the show, at Weisberg Commons on Oct. 26. 

Od Nipagesh, translated as “we shall meet again,” follows the true stories of five secular Israelis, estranged from family members who had become Haredi, as they attempt to restore their relationships with the help of a Haredi mentor. The series, it was announced at the event, has close to two million views and was also a finalist for the Rose d’Or award in reality and factual entertainment.

“What Od Nipagesh is about is people confronting their deepest fears,” Joshua Karlip, Herbert S. and Naomi Denenberg Chair of Jewish Studies and Associate Director of the YU Center for Israel Studies, who moderated the panel, told The Commentator. “Their deepest fears, the other within, the father who’s Haredi, and somehow looking beyond the stereotypes and breaking them down and coming to accept the other, and through accepting the other, coming to deep self-love and self-recognition in a way that they didn’t have before.”

The event, attended by about 50 undergraduate students, included a discussion panel with Nurit Sirkis-Bank and Bella Raboy, two people featured on the show, in which students were given the opportunity to ask questions. Karen Bacon, the Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz dean for undergraduate studies, and Steven Fine, Professor of Jewish History and Director of the YU Center for Israel Studies, both gave short speeches as well.

The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Torah and Spiritual Life as well as the Office of Student Life.

In an interview with the Commentator, Raboy and Sirkis-Bank, her Haredi mentor, shared memories about the casting and production of the show.

“I thought it was a prank call.” Raboy, who had been largely alienated from her Haredi father for over thirty years, recalled about the first time she was asked to participate.“ I realized that if it doesn’t work then we’re just going to end up on square one. It’s not like I’m gonna lose something.”

“I feel that when people have certain crises in their life or something going on, it’s never just you going through this,” Raboy told the Commentator about her decision to share her story and go on the show. “There are always other people who are going through the same thing and by talking about it or presenting it to the public you’re kind of releasing other people from their cages. So I felt that maybe if it won’t happen to me, then it might happen to other people or it might help other people.” 

Sirkis-Bank, Raboy’s Haredi mentor, who helped repair her relationship with her father, emphasized the significance of YU being the venue of this event.

“For me, YU represents an amazing direction in Judaism — that is a combination of real sourceful Judaism together with connection to the world,” Sirkis-Bank told The Commentator. 

Sirkis-Bank added that she viewed YU and Od Nipagesh as having the same goal.

“To find the bridge. I think Yeshiva University builds bridges in the world and our program was trying to build a bridge.”

The day following the event, Raboy and Sirkis-Bank spoke to Karlip’s undergraduate students at several of his classes and later spent Shabbat at Beren Campus.

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Photo Caption: 50 students turned out to Yeshiva University’s hosting of Od Nipagesh

Photo Credit: Dr. Nurit Sirkis-Bank