How The Mandalorian captures the realities of Jewish (non)observance

NOTE: Big spoilers for everything in S1 and S2 of The Mandalorian.

As it turns out, I am not the first person to watch a series about an ancient religious nation thrown into diaspora and come away thinking, hey, those guys are pretty space Jewish! But beyond general commonalities between our two cultures, I’m fascinated by the way The Mandalorian portrays the minutiae of religious experience—especially for protagonist Din Djarin, whose strict adherence to tradition reminds me of my own Orthodox Jewish upbringing.

Spoiler: I am not Orthodox anymore, and also spoiler: maybe Din isn’t either, not after the events…

In these quarantine days I have become very enamored of my morning walk. I do slow laps around the cul-de-sacs, dodging joggers and strollers from a six foot distance, taking deep breaths of that Florida smell—biomass, car juices, jasmine. You can laugh at me for being an old person, but I’m North-adjusted now and I think 85 is too hot to go for a run, even if I could drum up the motivation.

Also I would have to stop to look at all the froggies.

Look at that special boy.

My neighborhood, Mandarin, surfaced in the local news in 2015 after these painted concrete frogs…

For a long time I have been thinking of quarantine. When I was little, my sister underwent radioactive iodine treatment to cure her Graves’ disease, an autoimmune issue that causes the thyroid gland to endlessly sluice hunger-making hormones until the body digests itself. Radiation treatment is a safe and effective procedure, but it leaves the body temporarily nuclear. For seven days after, like an X-Man, no one was allowed to touch her. Mom left plates of rice and beans at her door and high-iodine snacks like salty popcorn. She played GameBoy contentedly. I cried. …

Elsie Platzer


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store