The Best Documentaries about Orthodox Judaism

Jul 30, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Religion

Orthodox Judaism is a form of Jewish practice that has remained faithful to the teachings and practices set forth by Moses thousands of years ago. This branch of Judaism can be found all over Europe, North America, and beyond in communities known as shtetls. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating religion, you might want to check out these documentaries on Orthodox Judaism which provide an insightful look into its history and beliefs. From Chabad to Satmar and everything in between, these films will give viewers a comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to live life according to the laws of orthodox rabbis.


Outback Rabbis (2019)

Take a journey like no other as two ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Rabbis venture into the Australian outback in search of ‘lost Jews’. Leaving behind their bustling lives in Melbourne, these Rabbis and their families embark on a unique adventure filled with unexpected encounters with colorful outback characters.






Strictly Jewish – The Secret World of Adass Israel (2016)

Enter the sacred walls of the world’s largest ultra-orthodox seminary, and uncover a hidden world of devotion and education. But beyond the devout rituals and intellectual pursuits, lies a profound humanity shared by these young men. In this compelling documentary, we delve into their innermost thoughts and struggles, revealing relatable hopes, aspirations, and fears.






Unkept Secrets (2018)

Ornit, a devoted mother of eight, lived a simple and peaceful life within her ultra-Orthodox community. She found comfort in the teachings of the respected rabbi who had become a mentor to her three sons. But one day, Ornit’s world was shattered when she discovered that this same revered figure had been abusing all three of her boys for years.






City of Joel (2019)

Monroe, a small town situated 50 miles north of New York City, is a microcosm for the current state of our nation. It serves as a reflection of the deep divide that plagues us, where conflicts between opposing ideologies and lifestyles constantly threaten to tear communities apart.







The Best Free Documentaries about Orthodox Judaism


1. The Ultra Orthodox vs. The IDF: Israel’s Other Religious War

The Israeli government’s decision to require Haredi men to serve in the military sparked outrage within the country’s secular majority. But it also resulted in major opposition from the Ultra Orthodox community, with religious leaders demanding that no one should comply and violent protests taking place. In this video we explore how this religious war has been playing out between Israel’s ultra-Orthodox adherents of Judaism and its armed forces. We hear from hardline members and leaders of the Ultra Orthodox community as well as soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda, the IDF’s Ultra Orthodox Battalion, about their views on this unprecedented law which threatens to disrupt centuries of tradition.


2. Leaving the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community

This documentary tells the story of five young people who have grown up within an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, yet no longer wish to remain there. We follow their journeys as they break free from a society that is heavily regulated and strictly enforces its rules – often with dire consequences for those who go against them. Along the way, we see how these individuals must face new struggles in order to gain autonomy and freedom; but ultimately learn what it takes to make it on their own terms.


3. Strictly Kosher: Episode 1

This documentary takes you deep into the heart of Manchester’s Jewish community, where you’ll meet three families and their friends. Experience a kaleidoscope of tradition, religion and extravagance as they offer an insight into lifestyles that range from traditional to modern but are held together by one faith – Orthodox Judaism. Follow them on their journey through Strictly Kosher: Episode 1!


4. Inside Israel’s Closed Off Ultra-Orthodox Communities

The ultra-orthodox communities in Israel live a world apart, adhering to ancient religious principles and rejecting the secular. This Arte documentary explores how pressures from outside are forcing many Haredim to integrate more with modern society – including Moshe who set up a tech company that follows religious rules and Chira who dreams of becoming a professional singer for other women. Discover how tensions between these closed off communities and secular Jews have deepened during COVID, as well as hearing about the Israeli government subsidies which support this lifestyle. Learn why some believe tradition does not mean being stuck in the past but instead can enable us to look forward and invent new things. Join us on an insightful journey into this rarely seen world!


5. Jewish Scandal: Ultra-Orthodox Family Breaks Code of Silence

The Waks family have faced an unimaginable struggle as they seek justice for Manny, a fervently Orthodox Jewish man who was abused as a student. His father Zephaniah joins forces with his son in his quest to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice and the rabbis held accountable for their role in covering it up. This powerful documentary follows Manny and Zephaniah’s parallel journeys as they break the code of silence within Melbourne’s Orthodox community and work to expose those responsible. We get an inside look into this insular world of study, duty, power and piety through Manny’s story – while also seeing how such a decision affects him personally on both spiritual and social levels.



Want to know what it’s like to live in an Orthodox Jewish family? Join me as I take a trip to New York and visit the Katz family. Rabbi Yoni Katz and his wife, Rivky, welcome us into their home and share how Hasidic Jews find partners, the role of motherhood in the religion, and what makes food ‘Kosher’. We also meet Brocha, Rivky’s mother who takes us on a tour of her favorite room: The Kosher Kitchen. Get an inside look at Orthodox Jewish life with this unique journey!


7. The Shocking Crime Revelations Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Sect

This video dives into the shocking crime revelations inside an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect in Australia. It is a story of Manny Wax, a survivor of child sex abuse who exposed the scandal and became its public face. Three individuals were arrested and convicted as a result of his revelations. The documentary also focuses on what royal commission examining ultra-orthodox attitudes might have hindered victims from speaking out about the abuse. This riveting webcast was watched by many – making it one of the most viewed since 2013 when it began!


8. Dates and relationships in Jewish ultra-orthodox communities

Delve into the lives of Israeli ultra-orthodox Jews and learn about their unique culture. This documentary follows a number of protagonists as they navigate the dating scene in search for a suitable mate. Get an up close and personal look at relationships between men and women, singles and friends, and families to gain insight into the wisdom behind this traditional way of life. See how these timeless values may be applied to our own lives today!



9. The Jewish Orthodox Community of New York

This documentary explores their history, religious beliefs and practices, as well as what it’s like to be part of this extraordinary community today. Learn about their cultural traditions and sense of responsibility to one another that makes them so special. Get an inside look at how these communities live and thrive in one of America’s most diverse cities!


10. ULTRA ORTHODOX: This Hasidic Jewish Woman Reveals The Hidden Horrors

This documentary follows Emily Green, an ex-Hasidic Jew, on her journey to leaving the Orthodox community and adjusting to life in the secular world. Through her story, viewers gain insight into the hidden horrors of ultra orthodox Jewish weddings and learn what it is like living in a Hasidic home. We also hear stories from other famous ex-Hasidic Jews such as Shloime Zionce and Lev Tahor who have gone through similar experiences. Discover what it’s really like being part of this unique culture by watching this powerful film!

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B