In 1991, REM’s Michael Stipe famously sang, “That’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion, trying to keep up with you, and I don’t know if I can do it.” Just over a quarter-century later, we set out to explore what happens when religious couples no longer see eye to eye. Do you follow your heart? Do you tell your partner? And can the package stay intact, despite the tectonic shifts?
Ever since she was a little girl growing up in an Orthodox community in New York, Dvorah Sasson was full of questions. Never one to rock the boat, she ended up marrying exactly the man her parents had in mind for her. A bunch of kids and a move to Israel later, her initial doubts only grew, and Dvorah began living a double life. Mishy Harman met up with her at a particularly vulnerable point along the way – just months after ‘coming clean,’ the fate of her marriage is anything but clear.
When Yaakov and Batya Levi got engaged after a mere five dates (which took place in the span of seven days…), they could more or less imagine what life had in store for them: he was a star student at the Koilel, and she couldn’t wait to start a large family. But life had other plans. Maya Kosover and Mishy Harman entered the most unusual Ultra-Orthodox home they’ve ever encountered, and came out with a turbulent story of love, courage, and compromise.
The original music in this episode was composed and performed by Ruth Danon, Nili Fink, and Noam Sadan, who also covered songs by Vashti Bunyan and Ruth Dolores Weiss.
This episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum, and recorded at Andrew Yeomanson’s City of Progress Studios. It was produced thanks to the generous support of the JCC Manhattan and the Natan Fund.
Thanks also to Megan Whitman; the Lambert Family; the Leon Lowenstein Foundation; Zabar’s; Joy Levitt; Amanda Crater; Matt Temkin; Kaylyn Kilkuskie; Jeff Fontaine; Jordana, David, Charlie, Zach and Rosie Sandler-Monzano; Felicia Herman; Adina Poupko; Tony Felzen; Debbie Swartz; the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh; Pamela Lavitt; Michele Boukai; Inbar Nadir; Eliot Gold; Paula Winnig; Valentina Khomenko; Rachel Schy; Miriam Fisher; Ike Fisher; Lourdes Suarez; the Dave and Mary Alper JCC in Miami; Mark Perlin and Ria David; Jennifer and Fareel Buchinsky; Gail and Paul Fireman; Cindy Goodman-Leib and Scott Leib; Aviva Rosenberg; Motti Zada; Naomi Schneider; Ronnie Wagner; Eviatar Banai; Brian Blum; Zoheret Nir Cohen and Moshe Shenfeld.