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‘Shtisel’ launches long-awaited third season Sunday night

Story of ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem family picks up four years later, with nine new episodes

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Sunday is the day Israeli “Shtisel” fans have been waiting for, with the long-awaited premiere of Season Three of the beloved drama screening 9 p.m. on Yes.

The new season picks up four years after the events of last season, unveiling changes and shifts in the ultra-Orthodox Shtisel family of Jerusalem over the course of nine episodes (spoilers below).

Patriarch Shulem Shtisel (Dov Glickman) is looking for a match seven years after the death of his wife. He and his brother Nuchem (Sasson Gabai) are still clashing, while Akiva (Michael Aloni) and his betrothed, Libbi (Hadas Yaron, from “Fill the Void”), are seemingly on their way to the marriage altar but continue to argue about his pursuit of art.

Ruchami (Shira Haas, Emmy winner for “Unorthodox”) and Hanina Tonik (Yoav Rotman) are figuring out their own matrimony, while her parents, Giti (Neta Riskin) and Lippe (Zohar Strauss), continue to argue in their complicated marriage.

Shtisel !New season, Starts this coming Sunday ????????

Posted by ‎Michael Aloni מיכאל אלוני‎ on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Season 3 will soon be available on Netflix, producer YES Studios announced, with Seasons 1 and 2 remaining on the streaming service for viewing alongside the latest episodes. In Israel, the new episodes of “Shtisel” Season 3 will air weekly, with English subtitles available on Yes VOD.

Working on the third season was like “coming home,” said Dikla Barkai, the long-time producer of “Shtisel,” who was one of the first to read the script written by Ori Elon and Yehonatan Indursky.

When she read the “Shtisel” script in 2010, said Barkai, who also worked on “Srugim,” an acclaimed Israeli TV show about young Modern Orthodox singles in Jerusalem, “I wanted to stop everything I was doing and just work on that. I’m not a Jerusalemite and I’m not religious, but I have a lot of love for the people who made those two series.”

Fast forward ten years and “Shtisel” has had far-reaching effects, well beyond what Barkai ever envisioned for the show. She was sure it would succeed in Israel and “reach the red carpets of film festivals,” but she didn’t foresee its burgeoning popularity among global viewers.

Dikla Barkai, the producer of ‘Shtisel,’ the Yes TV show premiering its third season on December 20, 2020 on Yes (Courtesy Dikla Barkai)

“I never imagined Netflix but then again, Netflix didn’t exist then like it does now,” said Barkai, referring to Netflix’s transition from a video rental service to the global content and production behemoth that it is today.

“Shtisel” has had a lasting effect on its cast as well, many of whom were much younger and less well-known when the show was first released in 2013.

“They all wanted to be part of the third season, but it’s a challenge to bring them back to the same place, with the same kinds of salaries and production,” said Barkai. “This is a modest series and a modest production, with a typical Israeli budget, and the actors are now much better known, with different expectations and market recognition.”

That said, Barkai said she still loves working with every member of the “Shtisel” team. “There’s a feeling of family in the making of this, and to go back to it was simply the best,” she said.

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