JB: Well, I don't want to speak for everyone who's left a Haredi community. I think if you're a member of a religious community that is sort of like a total institution in that way and you leave it, you're probably going to have some pretty strong motivations behind it, because what those groups tend to do is give you many, many reasons to stay and they make it hard to leave. Not necessarily in an overt way, although they may do that. But if your entire life is within a certain social context that provides many things for you, it's hard to leave it. And so, yes, because the people who participate in these shows have left these communities, of course, stories about leaving and being unhappy are going to be overrepresented. I don't think anyone would really disagree with that.
That said...I talked to one woman who left New Square, which is a community in New York where men and women walk on opposite sides of the street. It's a very, very, very highly observant, maybe the most repressive form of Judaism that's practicing in the United States, and even this woman who left a really oppressive community said that, in some ways, she doesn't agree with the representation that these groups get on television because she thinks it's too one-sided.
Another woman I talked to, Malky Goldman, a consultant and actress who left an ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, said that she doesn't just want to show the repression, or people sort of at war with their communities. She also wants to show what is beautiful about those communities and what makes people stay.
And so I think the more sophisticated portrayals such as in Shtisel, the Israeli show, show people in conflict with themselves and their communities, but they also show why these communities have persisted for so long. It's not just negative.