A U.S. television producer is shopping around a reality show based on the lives of American ultra-Orthodox Jews who leave their strictly observant Haredi communities for secular lives.
Noah Sheinmann of No Regrets Entertainments, one of the executive producers of "Shunned," told the New York Post that divorce will be a key theme of the series. Each of the three current cast members were married through arranged marriages, and they're all either divorced or going through the process. Britain's Mail Online reported that Sheinmann is searching for a fourth cast member.
Pearlperry Reich, one of the members of the cast, said she wanted to join the show to give a face to the usually faceless - and to kick-start a career in modeling and acting.
"My main purpose is to create a positive Judaism," said Reich, 30. "And it would be a really good opportunity for me to get my face out there."
Reich is currently in the middle of a custody battle for her four children.
Reich's boyfriend, Shauli Grossman, 24, said his involvement with the project was motivated by a desire to educate Orthodox teens, according to the Post.
"There are a lot of people [for whom] this lifestyle is not a choice, and they would die to leave," Grossman said. "We're married off at 17 or 18 before we even know what we want."
Cast member Luzer Twersky, 26, grew up in the Belz and Satmar sects in Borough Park, New York. He said he married at 19, after only one date. After he abandoned his ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, he said it was like being taken from a one-room basement apartment and shoved into Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. He is now divorced, with two children.
"A lot of things are new to me. I saw 'Star Wars' for the first time last year," Twersky told the Post. "It's interesting. At least now I can understand what people are talking about: 'May the force be with you.'"