Batsheva Haart has felt an outpouring of support since the premiere of My Unorthodox Life, Netflix’s latest zeitgeist-y reality show that she co-stars on with the rest of her family.
While the show produced a polarized reaction from viewers — some praised it for its openness and more nuanced portrayal of a Jewish family, while others criticized it for falsely equating Orthodox Judaism with fundamentalism — Batsheva feels as though the global reception has outweighed the negative.
Batsheva Haart opened up about My Unorthodox Life on the most recent episode of In The Know’s pop culture interview series, “We Should Talk,” where she elaborated on the response to the show, how her husband pushed her to make up with her mother, her evolving relationship with fashion and much more.
“We respect our religion, but we also live a modern lifestyle, and we learn how to balance that,” Batsheva Haart told In The Know. “And, also, we teach people to respect one another — just because you don’t have the same belief system doesn’t mean you can’t be a happy and close family. You just need to respect and give people the freedom to practice what they want to practice.”
Listen to My Unorthodox Life star Batsheva Haart’s full episode of “We Should Talk” below, and keep reading for highlights from the interview:
Batsheva Haart on the criticism that My Unorthodox Life received: “This is a nine episode TV show. Religion was obviously a focal point of it, but this wasn’t a, ‘Let’s educate you on ultra-orthodox religion!’ This was a TV show about a family. My mom and my siblings and I were all speaking to our personal experience, and there’s tons of people who have different experiences and that’s their story to share. People should understand that this wasn’t a, ‘Let’s teach you religion!’ This was, ‘We’re sharing our story. This was our experience.’ And [the aim was also] to hopefully inspire people who are struggling and feel in a similar place in any religion, that there’s a way out and you can still lead a very happy and successful life. Or, learn to be someone like me who is just less religious, but still has a lot of the same traditions and values [that they’ve always had].”
Batsheva Haart on the positive feedback that My Unorthodox Life received: “A majority of the messages that I’ve received are like, ‘It’s so nice to see.’ People have been like, ‘I feel represented!’ Or they don’t know and they’re like, ‘We’ve only seen unaffiliated or ultra-religious and never in-between.’ A lot of people from other religions relate to it, and that’s what my mom really… she didn’t use Judaism so much; she wanted to focus on fundamentalism, not ultra-orthodox. In any religion — whether it’s Christian, Catholic, Muslim — any ultra-religious society is gonna have that way of treating women or living your life. We respect our religion, but we also live a modern lifestyle, and we learn how to balance that. And, also, we teach people to respect one another — just because you don’t have the same belief system doesn’t mean you can’t be a happy and close family. You just need to respect and give people the freedom to practice what they want to practice.”
Batsheva Haart on her husband, Benjamin, pushing her to make up with her mother, Julia Haart, when they weren’t speaking: “For him, he always said, ‘It’s your mom, not my mom.’ So, he always felt like he understood what I was going through, but he knew it wasn’t painful to him because it wasn’t his mom. He was able to have a much clearer mindset to break it down, better than I was because I was blinded by pain and anger. He was able to see it for what it was: Someone who was really unhappy changing their life. He obviously understood what I was struggling with, but he knew that deep down I didn’t want to be in this place [with my mom]. Nobody wants to feel anger with a family member, [because] you have to carry that yourself. It was him constantly encouraging me to be nice, to talk, to hear her out to a point where I was finally mature enough to be ready to have the conversation with her. For a while, I just didn’t care. I was angry, and I wasn’t willing to listen. I had to go through that process myself to get to the point where I was ready to listen. Once I had the conversation with her, I understood. I’m obviously very thankful to her for the journey that she went on, because my life has been drastically improved by the changes that she made. It took me just getting old enough to understand that your parents are people also. A lot of kids don’t view their parents as a person who has feelings — they’re just your mom or your dad — so I think it took me to the point where I was ready to listen.”
Batsheva Haart on what she’s learned from her mother, Julia Haart, when it comes to business: “In terms of business, the biggest life lesson my mom has taught me is [to] have your own business or to have your own skill. You don’t have to be the CEO of a company, but to have something as a woman for yourself that [allows you to] make your own money. She’s led by example, obviously, and encouraged me to do that for myself, and I think that’s one of the most valuable things that she’s taught me, because so many people don’t value that. I’m not a mom right now, so I don’t know for sure, but for my mom, all of us were growing up, she was super young — she was in her forties — and she was like, ‘Now what?’ To have something for yourself, even while your kids are growing up — it doesn’t need to be a full-time thing — even just a hobby or something [that] you can turn into a way to make money after your kids don’t need you is really valuable.”
Watch In The Know’s full interview with Batsheva Haart below, and stream My Unorthodox Life on Netflix now:
If you enjoyed this interview, check out In The Know’s interview with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Sutton Stracke!
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