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No events for The Unorthodox

About the Opening Night Film

A spirited and suspenseful David-and-Goliath morality tale about the founding of Israel’s first Sephardi political party, actor Shuli Rand dazzles in this fictionalized (and quintessentially Israeli) story about the rise of the Shas Party. In his first screen role since 2004’s theatrical hit USHPIZIN, his daughter is expelled from religious high school for not “fitting in” (ethnically). That is when Yaakov Cohen (Rand), a Jerusalem widower and print shop owner, resolves to fight back and even the playing field between the powerful Ashkenazi religious establishment and the Sephardi and Mizrahi underclass.

Political novices, yet warriors for justice, he and his compatriots—jump through innumerable hoops to launch their new underdog party in the 1983 municipal elections. Jamming to the Bee Gees, they comically charm rabbis to earn their followers’ support, master complex campaign rules, plaster neighborhoods with posters, and narrowly meet strict deadlines—all the while struggling to maintain their integrity and credibility against an intimidating establishment bent on suppressing their voices. Featuring a lively original soundtrack, this extraordinary debut feature from director Eliran Malka (creator of the hit TV show “Shababnikim” also screening at SJFF) proves the power of one to reshape society.

About the Festivities

Join friends and the Stroum JCC board in the AMC lobby, starting at 7:30 pm for happy hour (cash bar) befor the film. Stay after the film for a Dessert Party hosted by Tom Douglas (included with ticket/pass).

Director Bio

Eliran Malka grew up in a religious Mizrahi family in the northern Israeli city of Nahariya and moved to Jerusalem to study film at Ma’aleh School. Best known for Israel’s hit TV show THE NEW BLACK (Shababnikim), also playing at SJFF this year, THE UNORTHODOX is his feature film debut.

unorthodox poster

Film Details:

Director: Eliran Malka
Country: Israel
Language: Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 99m
Year: 2018
Genre: Narrative Comedy
Original Title: Habilti-Rishimiyim
Rating/Warning: PG - language


  • Israel
  • politics
  • religion
  • Sephardim
  • Mizrahi
  • Ashkenazim
  • 1980s
  • Shas Party



Sharon Gantz Bloome Fund of the Tides Foundation

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