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So how, in fact, do Haredi women behave? 

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Anna Somershaf’s documentary film Women of Valor aired recently on Israeli television, and will soon make the rounds on the festival circuit abroad. The film follows the Haredi women’s movement Lo Nivcharot, Lo Bocharot (No Voice, No Vote), and shows the struggle of Haredi women for inclusion as public representatives within Israel’s Haredi political parties.

The film interweaves the personal story of the movement’s founder and leader, Esty Shushan, with the story of the movement itself. Shushan seems entirely consumed by the public effort she is advancing, and determined to generate change, not only regarding women’s political activism, but also regarding Haredi women’s status overall.

The film has an immediate emotional impact. It sparks identification with, and amazement at, the inner strength and force of will demonstrated by Esty Shushan and her partner in the struggle, Estee Rieder Indursky. Esty and Estee, along with the other Haredi women who appear in the film, are courageous figures swimming insistently against the current in a Sisyphean effort to take on the stubborn establishment that vehemently opposes their cause. The film explores the personal price these women pay, the slander and verbal abuse to which they are subjected to in the social media, the incitement, the attacks on their family members, and the attempts to expel them from their communities, since “that’s not how Haredi women behave.”

A new Haredi feminist discourse

Well, the fact is that Haredi women do indeed behave this way, and this is precisely where the film’s social........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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