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Efrat Dror



Mindi Ehrlich


Lab Edition



A legal drama television series which portrays how the ancient laws of the Halacha (the Jewish laws) constantly collide and clash with the modern Israeli everyday reality. This collusion will occur mainly through the eyes of Nechama (43), an ultra-orthodox and legal representative of women in Rabbinical courts, who feels transparent and powerless in her position. She will choose to hide behind a man, a secular lawyer, with the hope he will be able to sound her voice for her. But as things progress, Nechama will realize she is no longer willing to hide. She will get out from behind the scenes, and fight for a change.


Nechama (43) is an ultra-Orthodox legal representative in the rabbinical court and a mother of nine children. She is married to Motke (45), a Torah scholar and head of a distinguished Yeshiva. Nechama belongs to a conservative community where the man is expected to study Torah, therefore the burden of providing a livelihood falls on the woman's shoulders. In order for Motke to follow this tradition, Nechama has studied to be able to represent clients in the rabbinical court and was certified as a “rabbinical litigator”, much like an attorney in civil court (She is allowed to represent clients only in the rabbinical court and not in an ordinary court). At first, the profession of rabbinical litigator (for those uncertified to practice law) was reserved only for men (yeshiva graduates). It was only in the early 90s that authorization was granted to train women as well. For the first time women were considered equal to men by the religious establishment, although they were excluded from giving testimony. Since legal representation is a masculine, extravert profession that is not mindful of the ultra-Orthodox woman whose essence centers on modesty, the profession was less adopted by the women of the ultra-Orthodox sector. But Nechama, who was determined to let her husband study Torah, decided to become a rabbinical litigator, primarily because it's what she knows best – to study and litigate. Only in recent years have a minority of ultra-Orthodox female litigators appeared in the rabbinical courts, to the dismay of the “Dayanim” (rabbinical judges) who were slowly forced to surrender to this trend.
Nechama looks like a typical ultra-Orthodox woman. At the age of 18 she married the only man she ever met. Motke is water that runs deep, a conservative patriarch who rules his family and students in his quiet way. While he's busy studying Torah and heading the Yeshiva, Nechama crumbles under the burden of providing a livelihood. In the absence of a budget, she works from home. This upsets all the family members who are forced to remain in their rooms while Nechama meets clients in the living room and must maintain their privacy as well as her family's. Nechama is imprisoned in a conservative and chauvinistic world. Her chances of succeeding as a woman are close to none. But she has no alternative, this is her world and this is her family. At home, Motke is the king and Nechama isn't necessarily the queen. Being opinionated and assertive aren't sexy qualities for an ultra-Orthodox woman in a conservative community. Nechama has no choice but to supply the goods, to be a modest wife and do her husband's bidding.
Deep down, Nechama knows all too well that she wasn't destined to be a homemaker; cooking and cleaning aren't her forté. She would much prefer writing statements of claims or delving into an article or innovative ruling – that is her Strength. Nechama is not the woman of valor expected of her. Though she tries her best to please her family, once she completes her boring chores, she escapes to her legal cases, and that – definitely excites her. Here she excels
For all intents and purposes Nechama has the skills to become the most sought after rabbinical litigator in town. But skills are one thing, reality is another. In reality, Nechama must battle it out with chauvinistic Dayanim to whom her voice doesn’t count. This infuriates her, because it is not for lack of proficiency, but because she is a woman. Despite her vast knowledge and excellent skills, she loses cases and this frustrates her. She knows that she has what it takes to win cases but the gap between her professionalism and what happens in practice makes her great potential irrelevant. It was Nechama's extensive knowledge, sharp wit and outstanding skills in arguing and wining that first brought her to the profession. Yet she doesn’t stand a chance with these Dayanim . She is a woman who was raised from infancy to lower her eyes before men. She doesn't have the "chutzpah" or the daring required of a rabbinical litigator.




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